The Prime Minister could have gone a few different ways in her speech today. Jeremy Corbyn suffered a bad gaffe on the cost of a manifesto promise (Telegraph), while also causing some confusion over his party’s policy on a second Scottish independence referendum (Telegraph). Before her lead went from insurmountable to unstable, she might have been tempted by either bit of news.
Instead, May finally came back to the one issue that gave her such a large majority in the first place: Brexit. Standing behind a podium that said something other than “Strong and Stable” for the first time in a good while, she claimed once more that she – and she alone – stood for the 52% that voted to Leave (Telegraph).
“I am prepared. I am ready to go. Jeremy Corbyn is not because last night confirmed that only one of us has the determination to deliver the will of the people and make Brexit happen and only one of us has the plan to make Brexit a success.”
“Your vote is more important than ever because every vote for me in this election will if I am returned as Prime Minister strengthen my hand in the negotiations that are about to start.
“But if you don’t vote at this election and if you don’t vote for me at this election you risk sleepwalking into the very real danger that Jeremy Corbyn will find himself in the hot seat, in the negotiating chair on your behalf.
Initially in the campaign, there was much confusion and consternation about May essentially taking all the campaign attention for herself – and her manifesto stumbles only made it worse. The reality was that her initial strength was due not to personal popularity, but rather to the people’s views on the Brexit issue. It appears she has remembered that – and with only 9 days to go before the vote, it’s none too soon.
If Ms. May can get this election back to Brexit – and every party leader not named Jeremy Corbyn, in their quest for what they are certain is their divine right to Remain voters, will be glad to help her in this – she could reassert her commanding position in time to score a large majority on 8 June. For the rest of this election, the Tory strategy is crystal clear: It’s the Brexit, Stupid.