Did 'hiding' Theresa May replace voting public with Tory activists at workplace rally?

Theresa May in Leeds (Reuters)

Theresa May has been accused of “hiding from the public” after speaking at a Leeds regeneration project to a crowd of Conservative Party activists.

The Prime Ministers spoke to some 150 Tory party members rather than people who use the project’s building.

Witnesses said they had left for the day before the PM arrived and the hall was filled only with “well-dressed Tories”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May was “hiding from the public”.

The centre was packed with “well-dressed Tories”, one member of staff complained (Reuters)

MORE: People, money and Ireland are the EU’s biggest priorities, Britain warned

MORE: Twitter “could have predicted” Twitter outcome

“She won’t take part in TV debates and she won’t talk to voters,” Corbyn said, as reported by the Guardian.

“Refusing to debate Labour in this election isn’t a sign of strength, it’s a sign of weakness. What is she afraid of? Voters deserve to know what political parties are offering.”

Theresa May at the event (Reuters)

The meeting took place at the Shine centre in the Harehills district of Leeds.

The centre the PM was visiting, housed in a former Victorian school, trains and employs people with previous convictions, especially former female prisoners.

One staff member said they were “deeply disappointed” not to be able to hear the PM.

“Harehills as a community was not represented or addressed,” said the staff member.

In her speech at Harehills, Mrs May attacked the Labour leader.

“I know this city is one of the places that people call a traditional Labour area,” she said.

“But here – and in every constituency across the country – it may say Labour on the ballot, but it’s Jeremy Corbyn that gets the vote.”

Todd Hannula, Shine’s founder, saiid: “Our visitors have included dignitaries from all over Europe, senior cabinet ministers when Gordon Brown was in power, and all of them have paid to use this space.

“We’re a venue, we can’t turn people down,” he said in a message posted on Facebook.

Mrs May meeting the Japanese PM on Friday (Reuters)

The incident happened on Thursday.

On Friday, Mrs May welcomed the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to the UK. The power couple met at Mrs May’s official residence, Chequers.