UK Politics

Elections: Theresa May says there are no 'no-go areas' for Tories

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Media captionTheresa May pledges to protect workers' rights at the Conservatives' local election launch

Theresa May has launched the Conservatives' local election campaign, saying there are no "no-go areas" for the party.

"Don't let anyone tell you that Conservatives don't care about working people," she told party activists in Nottinghamshire.

Conservatives "must and will ensure that hard work is decently rewarded", she added.

The PM also accused rival parties of being in "chaos and disarray".

Mrs May launched her party's campaign in the same county chosen by Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday to launch Labour's campaign, as the Tories target Labour council seats.

She said the Conservatives were now the one party in the UK which had put itself "unashamedly at the service of ordinary, working people".

She added: "As we leave the EU, our Conservative government will act to protect and indeed to enhance workers' rights, and guarantee that in a modern, flexible economy people are properly protected at work.

"These are the priorities of the British people, and they are the priorities of our party."

Labour elections co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne said Mrs May had "failed" working people and her drive towards a "risky Brexit" was threatening jobs, growth and workers' rights.

"The Tories cannot give Britain the change we need," he said.

"Theresa May talks of a country that works for everyone, but for the last seven years the Tories have failed ordinary working people and plunged our public services into crisis."

The prime minister hit back at Mr Corbyn's claim that the government is running the country into the ground with 40% cuts to both Tory and Labour council budgets.

"Local government have had to play their part in dealing with Labour's deficit - it is the Labour Party that left us with such a large deficit."

'Ideological obsessions'

The prime minister claimed that voters have a choice of "the competence of a strong Conservative council, focused on the priorities of local people, keeping local taxes down and delivering high quality local services.

"Or the chaos and disarray of the rest - political parties motivated not by what is best for local areas, but what best for their own partisan political interest, and without a plan for our country or our local communities - just a recipe for chaos and failure."

Mrs May accused Labour of indulging "its own ideological obsessions" and the Liberal Democrats of wanting to "re-run" last year's EU referendum.

She added that UKIP were "too divided to stand up for ordinary people" while the SNP and Plaid Cymru offered "divisive, tunnel-vision nationalisms" in Scotland and Wales.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has denied wanting to re-run last year's referendum but proposes giving the British people a say over a final Brexit deal.

Earlier this week, Mr Corbyn accused the Conservatives of "running our country down" and said: "Labour councils are making a difference... stepping up where the government fails to act."

Elections in England

Local elections will be held in 35 councils in England, all 32 councils in Scotland and all 22 councils in Wales on 4 May 2017.

Six areas in England are voting for newly-created "combined local authority mayors".

These mayors will mostly be responsible for economic development in their regions, but some will have powers over transport and housing.

Doncaster and North Tyneside are also electing local authority mayors, who are elected leaders of their respective councils.

The Manchester Gorton parliamentary by-election triggered by the death of Labour MP Gerald Kaufman will also take place on 4 May.