Lib Dems will prop up Corbyn's 'coalition of chaos', claims PM
Theresa May has launched a furious broadside against the Liberal Democrats, accusing them of preparing to "prop up" Jeremy Corbyn in government in the event of a hung parliament.
The Prime Minister said it was in the Lib Dems' interests to support a Labour-led "coalition of chaos" as it offered the best chance for them to derail the Brexit process.
Her attack came despite Lib Dem leader Tim Farron's repeated declarations that he would not be prepared to join either of the main parties in a coalition after the General Election on June 8.
It will be seen as an attempt to shore up Conservative support in seats which they took from the Lib Dems in the 2010 General Election and which the Lib Dems are now aiming to win back.
Mr Farron is hoping to claw back ground, particularly in areas which voted strongly for Remain in last year's referendum.
But as she prepared to hit the campaign trail in the south west of England - where the Tories made significant gains at the Lib Dems' expense in 2010 - Mrs May said Mr Corbyn would be the real beneficiary of any vote for the Lib Dems.
Writing in the Western Morning News, she said that the election was a chance to bring the country together after the Brexit vote and that she was determined the campaign should not be a re-run of the referendum arguments.
"It is why I am determined not to allow parties like the Liberal Democrats to prosper, because it is in their interests to prop up a Corbyn coalition of chaos so that the Brexit process stalls and they can reopen the battles of the past," she wrote.
"Wherever it says Labour or Liberal Democrat on the ballot, it's a weak, nonsensical Jeremy Corbyn that gets the vote.
"At the last election, voters here in the south-west were the difference between a strong, majority government and a weak, unstable coalition of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.
"The opposition parties are lining up to prop up Jeremy Corbyn and disrupt our Brexit negotiations - a recipe for years of drift and division at this crucial time."
Meanwhile Lib Dem former leader Nick Clegg will warn that Mrs May's pursuit of a "hard Brexit" - taking the UK out of the single market - would damage those she claims to want to help the most.
Following reports of an acrimonious clash between the Prime Minister and European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker over her negotiating strategy, the ex-Deputy Prime Minister, who now speaks for the Lib Dems on the EU, will say the Tories were proving as incompetent as they were ruthless.
In a speech in London, Mr Clegg will added: "The economic damage is already being felt by the people who the Tories have always cared about least: the poor, the insecure and the vulnerable.
"If Theresa May really cared about the 'just about managing', the very last thing she should do is impose a hard Brexit on them."