Labour scents blood as May suddenly looks less ‘strong and stable’

Written by David Singleton on 22 May 2017 in Diary

The PM came close to losing her composure as she swerved on social care but claimed that 'nothing has changed'.

Labour has thrown Theresa May’s own soundbites back at the prime minister after today’s u-turn on social care costs.

Throughout the general election campaign, the prime minister has been pushing her "strong and stable" message at every opportunity. May even used her appearance on the One Show with husband Philip to say that she had a "stable" childhood.

But the prime minister looked less stable than ever this morning when she ripped up a key plank of the Tory election manifesto just days after it was published.

In a stunning u-turn, May announced there will be a cap on how much people have to pay if they need social care. But she refused to say what the level the cap would be set at.

During the question and answer session after a speech in Wales, she also looked visibly aggrieved and came close to losing her composure as she insisted that “nothing has changed”.

And in a surprise boost for Labour, she suggested that Jeremy Corbyn was forcing her to clarify the Tory position – by making "fake claims" about the manifesto.

The wobble comes as Labour slashed the Conservatives' lead by nine points in the latest opinion poll following the main parties' manifesto launches. The Tories' lead in vote share has halved compared to a week ago, according to Survation.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s election co-ordinator, pounced on the climbdown, saying: "Theresa May has thrown her own election campaign into chaos and confusion. She is unable to stick to her own manifesto for more than four days. And by failing to put a figure for a cap on social care costs, she has only added to the uncertainty for millions of older people and their families.

 "This is weak and unstable leadership. You can’t trust the Tories - if this is how they handle their own manifesto, how will they cope with the Brexit negotiations?"

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson also suggested there was nothing stable about the Tories any more - and that May's social care policy now resembled a pile of rubble.



Also doing their best to bring May's slogan crashing down around her were Labour's Angela Eagle and David Lammy.

"If that's 'strong & stable leadership in the national interest' then I'm a banana," said Eagle.

Lammy declared: "If this government is strong and stable then I'm Denzel Washington and I'm playing up front for Spurs next season. Rank incompetence."

Speaking at the launch of the Tories' Welsh manifesto in Wrexham, May said: "Since my manifesto was published, the proposals have been subject to fake claims made by Jeremy Corbyn. The only things he has left to offer in this campaign are fake claims, fear and scare mongering. 

"So I want to make a further point clear. This manifesto says that we will come forward with a consultation paper, a government green paper. And that consultation will include an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs.

"So let me reiterate. We are proposing the right funding model for social care.  We will make sure nobody has to sell their family home to pay for care.  We will make sure there’s an absolute limit on what people need to pay.  And you will never have to go below £100,000 of your savings, so you will always have something to pass on to your family."



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