Theresa May has said all the opinion polls pointing towards an easy Conservative victory at the general election could be wrong as she claimed it was the “most important” vote the country had faced in her lifetime.
An ICM poll released yesterday showed the Conservatives were on 48% with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour trailing far behind on 27% - a 21-point lead for the prime minister.
And a shock poll in Wales by ITV Wales/YouGov also published yesterday put the Conservatives on 40% to Labour’s 30% - a result that would hand the Tories 21 seats and Labour just 15 in the country.
However the prime minister may be concerned any sense among Tory voters that her victory is inevitable could lead many not to bother to turn out to vote on June 8.
Speaking in south Wales this afternoon, May warned against “complacency”.
“Remember the opinion polls were wrong in the general election the were wrong in the referendum last year and Jeremy Corbyn himself has said he was a 200-1 outsider for the Labour leadership in 2015 and looks here that one went,” she said.
Earlier today the prime minister told a meeting of her political cabinet that the polls had been “proved wrong repeatedly” in recent elections, her spokesman said.
In her speech today, delivered without notes standing in the middle of Tory activists just as David Cameron did in his 2015 campaign, May repeated her argument that a large majority for the Conservatives would strengthen her hand in the coming Brexit negotiations.
“Give me a mandate to lead Britain. Give a mandate to speak for Britain. Give me am mandate to fight for Britain and give me a mandate to deliver for Britain,” she said.
May used the campaign rally to drive home her slogan that she could provide “strong and stable leadership” while Corbyn would govern as part of a “coalition of chaos” with other smaller parties.
the prime minister said with 44-days to go in the campaign, the election was “the most important election this country has faced in my lifetime”.
However Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, has said it was “nonsensical” for May to think an increased Commons majority will strengthen her hand in talks with EU leaders.
“Will the election of more Tory MPs give Theresa May a greater chance of securing a better Brexit deal? For those sitting around the table in Brussels, this is an irrelevance,” he said on Sunday.
In response to May’s speech in Wales, Labour’s campaign chief Andrew Gwynne said “only Labour will invest to create shared prosperity”.
“It is clearer than ever that a vote for the Tories is a vote for the few, not the many. Rather than uniting the country and tackling the challenges we face, their policies are divisive and are taking us backwards,” he said.