In a bold move at the halfway point in the election campaign, the Prime Minister said she would fight for votes in all four corners of the UK and reach out to people abandoned by Labour.
Mrs May’s strategy is clearly aimed at persuading Labour voters in its heartlands who voted Leave in last year’s EU referendum to back her on Brexit and give her a bigger Commons majority.
In a speech in Tynemouth, the PM said: “So far during this campaign, we have learned one thing about Jeremy Corbyn: proud and patriotic working class people in towns and cities across Britain have not deserted the Labour Party – Jeremy Corbyn has deserted them.
“Millions of people here in the North East of England, and across our country, have loyally given the Labour Party their allegiance for generations. I respect that.
“We respect that parents and grandparents taught their children and grandchildren that Labour was a party that shared their values and stood up for their community.
“But across the country today, traditional Labour supporters are increasingly looking at what Jeremy Corbyn believes in and are appalled.”
She added: “We have learned from the shambolic leak of his manifesto that at the heart of his plan is a desire to go back to the disastrous socialist policies of the 1970s.
“Labour voters are appalled because they see a leader who can’t lead, a shadow chancellor who can’t be trusted and people like Diane Abbott who can’t add up.”
Before her speech, Mrs May launched her election battle bus in Felton, Northumberland.
In a further sign that she is putting her own personal appeal at the heart of her pitch to voters, the bus is emblazoned with the slogan “Theresa May: For Britain”, with the word “Conservative” relegated to a small logo on the door.
The PM told supporters she would “step up” campaigning as we edge closer to polling day on 8 June.
“This election is not about who people might have voted for before. It’s about who they want to see leading this country over the next five years.”
Ian Lavery, Labour’s national campaign chair, said voters in the North East “won’t be fooled by this farcical attempt by Theresa May to mask the damage her Tories have done”.
He said: “Under the Tories working families are set to be an average of £1,400 a year worse off, real wages are lower now than they were in 2010 and nearly six million people are paid less than the living wage.
“All this while the few at the top have been given tax breaks worth tens of billions of pounds.”
:: Follow every twist and turn of the election race in ‘The Campaign with Sophy Ridge’ on Sky News every weekday from 9pm.