Theresa May has appealed to traditional Labour voters in Leeds to “lend” her their vote in next month’s General Election as the party targets a swathe of gains across Yorkshire.
Mrs May looked to capitalise on many Labour supporters’ uncertainty over Jeremy Corbyn by presenting the June 8 poll as a vote on who will be Prime Minister rather than which party will be in government.
Signalling the Conservatives’ growing ambitions in next month’s election, Mrs May delivered her message on the fringes of Leeds North East, a constituency held by Labour since 1997 where sitting MP Fabian Hamilton is defending a majority of more than 7,000.
Speaking at Shine, in Harehills, she said: “I know this city is one of the places that people call a ‘traditional Labour area’. But here – and in every constituency across the country – it may say Labour on the ballot, but it’s Jeremy Corbyn that gets the vote.”
The Prime Minister continued: “That is why in this election – the most important election this country has faced in my lifetime – every single vote counts. And everyone in our country has a positive reason to lend me their vote.
“Because this election is not about who you may have voted for in the past. It is about voting in the national interest. Voting for the future.”
Opinion polls giving the Conservatives a significant lead over Labour have encouraged the party to shift away from the focus of its last election campaign which was holding onto seats such as Pudsey and Elmet and Rothwell.
Those seats are now considered relatively safe and the party has shifted its sights to constituencies where Labour MPs only secured narrow victories last time or where large numbers of people voted Ukip in 2015 and could switch this time around.
Mrs May had earlier visited the YEP’s offices in the centre of Leeds.