Theresa May used a campaign speech today to make a joke about Jeremy Corbyn being “alone and naked” in the Brexit negotiations.
The prime minister then added that the business of government was “very serious” as she attempted to wrest back control of the campaign.
However May was asked if joke was “demeaning the great office of prime minister” with her “personal attacks” on the Labour leader.
May and Corbyn both faced questions from a studio audience and a grilling by Jeremy Paxman last night.
Speaking in Wolverhampton this afternoon, May said only she had “the plan to make Brexit a success”.
“Last night showed that Jeremy Corbyn’s minders can put him in a smart blue suit for an interview with Jeremy Paxman, but with his position on Brexit, he will find himself alone and naked in the negotiating chamber of the European Union,” she said.
“I know that’s an image that doesn’t bear thinking about. But actually, this is very serious.”
The comment appears to be a dig at Corbyn’s anti-Trident stance.
Nye Bevan, the former Labour deputy leader, used a speech in 1957 to warn against unilateral nuclear disarmament.
“You will send a British Foreign Secretary, whoever he may be, naked into the conference chamber,” he warned.
May was asked by the Daily Mirror if the joke and her “increasingly personal attacks” on Corbyn was a sign a of her “increasingly desperation” as Labour has surged in the polls in recent days. “Aren’t you demeaning the great office of prime minister?” she was asked.
The prime minister said when people vote on June 8 “they have a simple choice to make”.
“There is one one of two people who will be prime minister after the election, it’s either me or Jeremy Corbyn,” she added.