Theresa May has tried to re-focus the Tory election campaign on Brexit and put the fiasco of the so-called “dementia tax” behind her.
The prime minister was campaigning in Wolverhampton today, and returned to the theme of Brexit, portraying her Labour rival as unable to conduct talks on leaving the EU, saying Jeremy Corbyn would find himself “alone and naked in the negotiating chamber“.
Mrs May had likely been hoping for a relatively easy day on the campaign trail after Mr Corbyn’s awkward Woman’s Hour interview focused the media spotlight on the Labour leader.
But she has found herself facing criticism from former colleague George Osborne, who accused her of resorting to “shrill attacks” on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rather than tackling Brexit concerns.
The former chancellor-turned newspaper editor’s comments came in a scathing editorial in the Evening Standard, in which he lamented that while Brexit talks had formed “the pretext” for the general election, negotiations “could not have got off to a worse start”.
Since Mr Osborne took up the editor’s role at the Evening Standard the paper has several times blasted the Tory manifesto, calling its plans on social care “badly thought-through”, and criticising the manifesto’s immigration pledge as “politically rash and economically illiterate”.
In his latest unwelcome interjection, Mrs May’s former colleague said the Tory campaign had “meandered from an abortive attempt to launch a personality cult” around the prime minister “to the self-inflicted wound of the most disastrous manifesto in recent history”.
When the Conservative campaign began it was marked by the foregrounding of the prime minister – she has been at the front and centre of branding that has decorated the stump speeches and visits.
But that has since begun to change. One week after critics claimed the campaign had suffered a wobble, “Theresa May’s team” has been replaced with “Theresa May and the Conservatives: Strong, Stable Leadership”.