General election: May says debate with Corbyn would not be helpful to voters – politics live

15 May

Mr Corbyn is holding events in safe Labour seats and in Tory seats which, the polls suggest, are very unlikely to be won. But he is not doing much in the zone in between, where seats are most likely to change hands. Why?

The simplest answer is that Mr Corbyn’s team simply think the polls are wrong. They think the Tory seats he’s going to are going to go red – and the Tories are wasting their time fighting in seats that will stay with Labour. We will see. A less simple answer is that his campaign has chosen not to take him to the front line. Several Labour MPs in those seats have made it clear that they think his presence will not help them persuade swing voters.

This pattern has been noticed by some of his critics who wonder if this is about life after 8 June. Mr Corbyn, some Labour insiders say, is visiting safe seats where Labour activists are over-represented to bolster his place in the next Labour leadership race. Two Labour MPs suggested to me he is trying to maximise the popular Labour vote to help bolster his argument for staying on in the event of a defeat.

Broadcasting, though, is a factor to consider in all this. ITV audiences in target seats may not notice exactly where he is. Mr Corbyn has been getting into the TV regions – and it is possible he is generating better pictures, addressing big crowds, by visiting safer Labour seats.

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