May's Brexit approach risks 'jobs meltdown', Corbyn says
Jeremy Corbyn has accused Theresa May of risking a "jobs meltdown" as the two main party leaders clashed over their rival plans for Brexit.
With a week to go to polling, the Prime Minister sought to revive the Conservatives' faltering General Election campaign with the promise of a brighter future for Britain outside the EU.
In a campaign speech in Teesside, she launched a renewed attack on the Labour leader, saying he would unable to negotiate the deal with the remaining 27 member states that the UK needed.
"You can only deliver Brexit if you believe in Brexit. You can only fight for Britain if you believe in Britain. You can only deliver for Britain if you have the strength, the plan and the determination to see it through," she said.
"And what we know in this election is that the only other person that can be prime minister in seven days' time is simply not up to the job.”
"He doesn't believe in Britain. He doesn't have a plan. He doesn't have what it takes."
Mr Corbyn hit back with a warning that Mrs May's hardline approach to Brexit risked Britain crashing out of the EU without any deal at all.
"The Conservatives' reckless approach has left us isolated and marginalised, increasing the chances of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal, which would be the worst possible outcome for Britain," he told a campaign event in Basildon.
"That would mean slapping tariffs on the goods we export - an extra 10% on cars - with the risk that key manufacturers would leave for the European mainland, taking skilled jobs with them.”
"In sector after sector, 'no deal' could prove to be an economic disaster. Theresa May's approach risks a jobs meltdown across Britain."
Liberal Democrat former leader Nick Clegg said Mrs May's comments were "delusional", pointing out that she had backed Remain in last year's referendum.
"Only a year ago, Theresa May declared that being in the EU makes us more secure, more prosperous, more influential," he said.
"The relentlessly upbeat assessment of Brexit in her speech today is a U-turn of epic proportions.”
"It is also dangerous, because it is calculated to distract attention from the shark-infested waters which we are now entering, and the fact that Theresa May herself has steered us towards them."
The clash came after Mrs May was widely mocked by opposition parties for her refusal to take part in Wednesday's televised BBC debate, sending Home Secretary Amber Rudd instead.
Opinion polls suggest Labour is continuing to make ground, with a YouGov poll for The Times cutting the Tory lead to just three points, although other surveys still give them a double-digit advantage.
In her speech, Mrs May said voters had the opportunity to reaffirm last year's referendum vote for Brexit by backing her to carry on in Downing Street.
"If they do, I am confident that we can fulfil the promise of Brexit together and build a Britain that is stronger, fairer and even more prosperous than it is today," she said.
"Because the promise of Brexit is great, the opportunities before us enormous. Because if we get Brexit right, then together we can do great things."