Tory election banners in the north of England don't have 'Conservative Party' branding on them

Theresa May's name takes pride of place as polls show her popularity soaring

Benjamin Kentish
Thursday 04 May 2017 16:30
Theresa May speaks to supporters at a campaign event at Shine Centre in Leeds
Theresa May speaks to supporters at a campaign event at Shine Centre in Leeds

The Conservatives have dropped their party name from some campaign materials in the north of England, images suggest.

Theresa May visited Leeds on Thursday and spoke to party supporters in front of banners reading "Theresa May: Strong, Stable Leadership in the National Interest" but including no mention of the Tories.

Party activists, meanwhile, held signs reading "Theresa May: Strong, Stable Leadership”. “The Conservatives” was only written in much smaller writing underneath, according to The Telegraph.

In contrast, Ms May spoke in Dudley in the Midlands earlier in the week in front of signs that read “Conservatives” and had no mention of her name.

The move is likely designed to maximise the Tories’ advantage from Ms May’s strong approval ratings, which are higher than those of the party.

A poll earlier this week found the Prime Minister is now more popular than any other leader since the 1970s, with 61 per cent of people believing she is the most capable of the current party leaders.

By contrast, only 23 per cent of voters favour Jeremy Corbyn. Even a quarter of Labour voters believe Ms May is more capable than Mr Corbyn – a fact Tory strategists are likely to try to exploit as they attempt to win over swing voters.

During her speech in Leeds, the Prime Minister called on Labour supporters to “lend” her their vote.

“This election is not about who you may have voted for in the past,” she said. “Everyone in our country has a positive reason to lend me their vote," she said.

“Vote for me to strengthen my hand at the negotiating table in Brussels”.

It later emerged that Ms May’s speech, which was held at a community regeneration project, had been packed with Tory activists after users of the building left for the day.

“As one of the poorer and more diverse areas in Leeds, I’m sure the residents of Harehills would have appreciated being involved,” one local man, Rik Kendell, told The Guardian. “Instead Mrs May spoke exclusively to a hand-selected bunch of the party faithful.”

It comes as Labour accused Ms May of “hiding” because the majority of her campaign events to date have been held behind closed doors, away from members of the public.

"Theresa May is hiding from the public; she won't take part in TV debates and she won't talk to voters”, Jeremy Corbyn said. “Refusing to debate Labour in this election isn't a sign of strength, it's a sign of weakness.”

"In showing contempt for the public in this way, the Prime Minister is showing that it's Labour that stands up for the many, while she speaks only for the few.

"What is she afraid of? Voters deserve to know what political parties are offering.

"We are setting out our plans to rebuild and transform Britain, with a government for the many, not the few."

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