Theresa May’s authority has been damaged by the General Election and may never recover, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said.
In a savage attack on the Tory leader as he delivered his acceptance speech after retaining his Commons seat, Mr Watson mocked the Prime Minister over her “strong and stable” catchphrase, saying the public viewed her as “weak and wobbly”.
If you voted Labour, thank you. If you campaigned for Labour today - you're a superstar. Thanks all.— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) June 8, 2017
The West Bromwich East MP said Labour would hold Mrs May to her campaign warning that if she lost six seats Jeremy Corbyn would be in Downing Street.
He said: “Results are still coming in, but we are going to hold her to that. She thought she was going to get a Margaret Thatcher-style majority. That now seems out of her reach.
An unbelievable night. Theresa May will surely have to resign. She offered nothing but doom and gloom. Jeremy & Labour offered hope https://t.co/5bikk2K83j— Lucy Powell MP (@LucyMPowell) June 9, 2017
“The Prime Minister fought one of the most negative, pessimistic and defensive campaigns in British history and the British people delivered their verdict on that.
“She said she was ‘strong and stable’. The public saw that she was weak and wobbly. She said she was a ‘bloody difficult woman’, she boasted about it. The public saw she was just a woman who was finding it all a bit too bloody difficult.”
In a nod to the possibility of a hung parliament, Mr Watson said: “The next few hours – maybe the next few days – look very uncertain.”
However, Jeremy Corbyn’s position will be safe whatever the final result, Mr Watson said, despite being a vocal critic of the Labour leader throughout his time at the top of the party.
Mr Watson told BBC News: “I think it would be very foolish for anyone to want to stand down in the Labour Party tonight after this result.
“It seems to me that the people who have lost the most are the media that were trying to distort Jeremy’s message. He’s cut through that hasn’t he?”
Whatever the final result, our positive campaign has changed politics for the better. pic.twitter.com/EHLta2rnIW— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 9, 2017
Pressed on Mr Corbyn’s leadership, he said: “Well, I think he was safe whatever the result would have been.
Mr Watson held his seat with a majority of 7,713 over the Tories, down from 9,470 in 2015.