Jeremy Corbyn urges voters to shun 'fake and insecure' Theresa May and accuses her of 'ignoring and manipulating the public'

Chloe Chaplain

Jeremy Corbyn has accused a “fake and insecure” Theresa May of not listening to the public, putting herself first and leaving the country “at risk” in his most personal campaign speech yet.

Addressing supporters in East London, the Labour leader said the Prime Minister leaves no opportunity for “new-thinking” or dissent because she is an insecure leader who wants to feel stronger.

He contrasted her focus on “soundbites” and manipulating the public to his faith in "empowering others to make up their minds and come on board when they are ready".

And he urged voters to reject her Mrs May's "fake reassurances" and "simple slogans" and back Labour who will bring people together for "real and lasting change".

Election: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech in east London (PA)

The Labour leader said Tony Blair's premiership proved what goes wrong if leaders are left unchallenged, saying Mr Blair’s government "bought into Conservative ideas" about the economy that left Britain with no defence against the financial crisis.

Mr Corbyn said he recognised similar traits in Mrs May and warned that “if leaders go unchallenged, they can make some of the most damaging mistakes”.

Theresa May failed to give a pledge on the triple lock on pensions (PA)

"And if party leaders put themselves ahead of serving the people, they stop listening and even put our country at risk,” he said.

He said of his campaign that, although “it might not be the stuff of soundbites”, he believes in “standing firm and empowering others to make up their minds and come on board when they are ready”.

He added: "It is the mind-set that gets community centres and nurseries built, and increasingly defends them from closure.

"It is the mind-set that negotiates hard for better conditions in the workplace. It is the mind-set that serves the many, not the few."

'Step up': The Labour leader urged young people to register to vote (EPA)

Mr Corbyn said that, in the past, he thought political leaders had to give in to "vested interests" while manipulating the public, saying: "I didn't want to be like that. And it wasn't clear to me there could be another way.”

"But I've learned there is.

“Whereas insecure leaders want to feel stronger by asking you to give them more power, I recognise strong leadership as equipping you with more power."

He drew attention to his activism against the South African apartheid at a time, in the 1980s, when the Tory government was refusing to impose sanctions on the regime.

And he highlighted his maiden Commons speech in 1983, when he criticised Tory cuts to public services, saying it was a "tragedy" that he could give a similar speech today.

When asked whether anything other than victory for Labour would constitute a bad performance, amid speculation he may attempt to continue as party leader, he did not directly answer.

Corbyn: The Labour leader addressed crowds on Saturday (AFP/Getty Images)

He instead said: "The printed papers say one thing but the mood on the street tells me something very, very different. There's a positive energy and a positive anger out there.

"People are fed up - they are fed up with not being able to get somewhere to live, they are fed up with waiting for hospital appointments, they are fed up with zero hours contracts, they are fed up with low pay, they are fed up with debt, they are fed up with not being able to get on in their lives because of a system that's rigged against them."

Support: Corbyn has his photograph taken as he leaves after speaking to supporters at Wash House during the London rally (EPA)

He went on: "If you agree our times demand a response from all parts of our society and all corners of our country, then I am proud to be your leader.

"And if you want someone to hold that space open for you to help change the direction of your life and our country, then I am proud to be your leader.

"Watch this space. On June 8 there's going to be some very interesting stories for you to report."

Responding to the speech, Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin said Mr Corbyn “can't deliver”, slamming his speech as “nonsensical”.

"Only a vote for Theresa May and her team can provide strong and stable leadership in the national interest, strengthening Britain's hands in the Brexit negotiations and helping us get on with the job of making life in the United Kingdom even better," he said.