Theresa May has denied that she is asking Yorkshire voters to take a leap of faith in voting for her in next week’s snap poll, as she faced mounting criticism about the lack of detailed policies and funding commitments in the Conservative campaign.
Speaking during a fly-by visit to Moorthorpe, the Tory leader claimed she has been “open” with the public throughout the election and has set out a clear plan for addressing the challenges facing the country in coming years.
She also dismissed suggestions that a failure to make big gains on June 9 will mean the election has been in vain, despite repeatedly citing an increased majority as the key motivation for calling an early election.
She said she believed it was “important” to offer the British people the chance to have their say on “the decisions that need to be made about taking us forward for the future”.
The Prime Minister’s comments come as the election enters its final week, with the latest YouGov poll suggesting a further narrowing of the Conservative lead.
The last few days have seen the party’s campaign blighted by the fall-out from her social care U-turn, as well as reports of distrust and confusion at Tory HQ.
During a tour of target seats in Yorkshire and the North East, Mrs May continued her efforts to refocus the debate on Brexit and strike a less aggressive tone following Tuesday’s highly personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn.
But she faced tough questions about the lack of detailed pledges and funding commitments outlined in her manifesto and in subsequent speeches and policy announcements.
Examples highlighted by her critics include unanswered questions about funding for health and social care services, and investment on infrastructure projects like HS3.
This has been contrasted with the elaborate promises made by David Cameron in 2015 election, including on devolution, highspeed rail and NHS reform.
However, when asked whether this amounted to expecting voters in Yorkshire to write her a blank cheque, Mrs May dismissed the accusations as “not at all” true.
Speaking at Ultima Furniture, she said: “What I did in the manifesto... is be open with people that there are some really big challenges that we face as a country.
“Any Prime Minister coming in on June 9 has to understand those challenges... and find a way to address them, and that’s what we set out in our manifesto.”
Pressed on whether she was concerned about her party’s dip in the polls, she claimed the only poll she was interested was the one on June 8.
However, when speaking to staff on the factory floor, she stressed that “every vote counts”.
Responding to her comments, the incumbent Labour candidate for Hemsworth, Jon Trickett said: “You could find more accurate details in used car salesman’s pitch than you’ll find in the Tory manifesto... It’s not simply the pensioners that are waiting for details, it is the whole country.”