In the run up to Prime Minister Theresa May calling a snap general election the Conservative party’s election ‘attack strategy’ was being formulated. These attack strategy meetings were led by Tory party chairman and co-runner of the upcoming campaign, Sir Patrick McLaughlin.
The Tory election attack strategy included a number of new ‘attack lines.’ Not for the Lib Dems and UKIP, those were simple and well worn: The Lib Dem campaign would be based on calling for a ‘second referendum’ and party leader Tim Farron would be attacked for ‘ignoring the will of the British people.’
Likewise UKIP, a party that had ‘ran its course’ in driving through the Brexit vote and was, according to Conservative HQ, a party ‘struggling to find a purpose’ and no longer a threat to Tory seats.
With Theresa May’s unprecedented 20-point poll lead over Jeremy Corbyn the Tories called an election in the belief they could take major gains in both the north and the midlands and win the party’s biggest majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher. They would paint Mr. Corbyn as being ‘weak’ and ‘not suitable’ for office compared with the ‘strong and stable’ leadership of Mrs May.
Yet despite a Tory landslide victory being at the time a foregone conclusion, the Tory attack line on Jeremy Corbyn would be an aggressive claim that the British public would not be safe under his and his party’s leadership. We, the British public would be ‘better protected’ under Theresa May.
Further still, the Tory attack strategy on Mr. Corbyn would include a damning and, given the shocking atrocities suffered in Manchester and now again in our capital city, macabre supposition that Britain and its people would suffer more terrorist attacks if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister.
When asked in an exclusive article in the Telegraph on 22 April 2017, a full month before the Manchester attack, whether he thought voters would be safer under Mrs May than Mr Corbyn , Tory party chairman and campaign boss Sir Patrick McLaughlin said: “I think that would be stating the blindingly obvious.”
“With Theresa May’s record as home secretary and the way she’s conducted herself since she’s been prime minister, I don’t think anybody can be in doubt as to how serious she takes those responsibilities and is really on top of the detail.
“I just think she has shown herself as the person most qualified and most suitable to the job.”
In what the Telegraph dubbed ‘a very personal attack’ on Jeremy Corbyn, McLaughlin claimed when a country is under the threat of terrorism that there are “decisions which prime ministers have to take and those people in authority have to take which are sometimes very uncomfortable.
“If they don’t take them, we’re at danger … I know that with Theresa May, she would take them. I’m not sure that Jeremy Corbyn would.”
On 22 May 2017, exactly one month after Sir Patrick McLaughlin’s election ‘attack strategy’ interview in the Telegraph, twenty two men, women and children were murdered, 116 were injured, and 23 of them critically, when 22-year-old British Muslim Salman Abedi, detonated a shrapnel-laden improvised explosive device at the exit of the Manchester Arena.
Five days after the atrocity in Manchester, once the suspension of campaigning was lifted, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, seemingly wasting no time in resuming and continuing the Tory election attack strategy on the Labour leader, a strategy formulated more than a month before the terrible events at the MEN, was asked by the Daily Mail if she was suggesting it would mean a greater risk of another terrorist atrocity if Mr Corbyn became PM, Rudd said: “It absolutely does, yes.”
“He talks now as though he could defend the country, but for 30 years he’s been against anti-terrorism measures.”
“The whole Labour team, and in particular Mr Corbyn, have boasted about opposing them. I spend two hours every day signing security warrants. The only thing Corbyn would sign is our security away. He’d be a disaster.”
Rudd’s continuation of the Tory ‘Corbyn attack strategy’ in which the British people would apparently not only be more vulnerable, but would suffer even more terrorist attacks if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, a strategy conceived more than a month before the horror of the Manchester atrocity, was later the same day endorsed by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.
Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Fallon backed Amber Rudd’s claims there would be more terror attacks under a Corbyn government after the presenter asked: “Amber Rudd has said that there would be more terror attacks if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, that’s disreputable alarmism, there’s no evidence for that whatsoever, is there?”
Again, and more than a month before the Manchester attack, Defence Secretary Fallon had fallen in line with the Tory ‘Corbyn attack strategy’ by claiming: “Jeremy Corbyn would be a risk to national security.”
Sir Michael told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I think you saw Jeremy Corbyn yesterday questioning strikes against terrorists.” Going on to claim the Labour leader was presiding over ‘very dangerous chaos’ that would put the nation’s security at risk.
We have to be very clear here, the Tory party hierarchy conceived an attack strategy on Jeremy Corbyn – more than a month prior to the terrible deaths of innocent men, woman and children in Manchester, and now again in London – to paint him not only as a weak leader, but as a threat to national security.
Furthermore, the strategy was based around a baseless prediction of there being MORE terrorist attacks in Britain if Mr. Corbyn were to be elected prime minister.
And, in the aftermath of those terrible events at the MEN, both the Tory Home Secretary Amber Rudd, and Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, as well as other senior Tory figures and cabinet members, have continued to implement the pre-election strategy of attacking Jeremy Corbyn under the macabre banner of ‘Vote Corbyn Get More Terrorism.’
This shameless, despicable and abhorrent Tory campaign strategy should come back to haunt Theresa May and her party come June 8th.
This morning Britain has again woken up to the horrific news of innocent people being slaughtered on our streets, this time in our capital city and again, under the watch of a Tory government. Campaigning has again been suspended as all our thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones.
The British public shall rightly condemn the horrific attacks on our freedom, but similarly, once the election campaign resumes, we would hope the people of this country would also condemn the outrageous and reprehensible act of attempting to gain politically by using these most heinous events.
While the Conservative hierarchy, its cabinet, the party and Prime Minister Theresa May should hang their heads in collective shame. The people should show their contempt at the polling booths come June 8th.