Osborne's revenge - Evening Standard attacks Theresa May's campaign for being 'little more than a slogan'

Posted On: 
2nd May 2017

George Osborne has launched a savage attack on Theresa May in his first Evening Standard editorial, accusing her of running an election campaign that is “little more than a slogan”.

George Osborne and Theresa May at an event in London in 2015
Credit: 
Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

The Prime Minister has already faced criticism for repeating a line about “strong and stable leadership” at every opportunity since calling a snap election a fortnight ago.

Those taking aim at Mrs May included the senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who tweeted yesterday that she needed a “strong and stable understanding” of the upcoming Brexit talks.

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Mr Osborne, who was sacked after six years as Chancellor by Mrs May, took the reins at the London newspaper today, having recently announcing he would be standing down as MP for Tatton.

In the paper’s first editorial since he took over, the Prime Minister is accused of failing to offer enough detail about the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

The editorial argues that a crushing victory over Jeremy Corbyn would strengthen Mrs May’s negotiating hand, but that the Tories have a duty to spell out her plans in more detail.

“No one should assume that the referendum gave a mandate to the Government to answer any of these questions about Britain’s future. It did not,” the article reads.

“A general election victory for the Conservatives could provide more of a mandate, but only if the Prime Minister and her colleagues spell out in much more detail what their intentions are.

“It’s early days, but that is not happening, thanks in part to the failure of the desperately weak Labour leadership to offer a proper opposition. There’s nothing wrong with repeating election campaign slogans; the problem comes when the election campaign amounts to no more than a slogan. If you ask for a blank cheque, don’t be surprised if later it bounces.”

Mr Osborne himself is no stranger to repetitive campaign slogans, having trotted out the Tories’ “long-term economic plan” hundreds of times ahead of the 2015 election.