A help and a hindrance?

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May Image copyright Reuters

The prime minister just about leapt onto the platform in a Staffordshire rugby club this morning.

She told the audience that she liked election campaigns - but after what has certainly been a trickier campaign for her than expected, Theresa May seems to be pleased at the prospect that the campaign (although perhaps not the retributions afterwards) is nearly over.

What she most certainly did not expect was in the closing days to be having to answer for her record as home secretary, which the attacks in Manchester and London have thrown into sharp relief.

Remember she called this election believing she was in a position of strength - hoping her record, and the perceived weakness of Jeremy Corbyn, would see her safely home.

Instead, among the dozens of press questions she has taken in the last couple of days she has repeatedly been asked whether the decisions she made as home secretary have left us more at risk of attack - and was even asked today if she should apologise to the grieving families for any security failures on her watch.

Certainly, the Labour Party has, to use the terrible jargon, had "cut through" with its attempt to tie security and austerity together as one campaign issue - citing police cuts as making us less safe.

Labour candidates say there is public awareness and anxiety about this, particularly in the wake of the London Bridge and Manchester attacks.

Conversely, while the Tories had been frustrated that Jeremy Corbyn's attitudes on security have played less prominently in the campaign than they had expected, the new focus on security means Theresa May faces increased scrutiny - but it may also, as last week's Question Time suggested, put more seeds of doubt in voters' minds about Mr Corbyn.

Senior Tory figures today believe it could help the vote "crystallise" back to them in this vital final 48 hours.

We'll see - but what has been, at some of the last events of the campaign, a political hindrance might, in the privacy of the polling booth, be a big help.

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