Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed “strange” descriptions of Theresa May as a “red Tory” or “blue Labour”, but declined to say whether he thinks of himself as “mainstream” like the Prime Minister.
Mr Corbyn scoffed at suggestions Mrs May was listening to his ideas despite the Tory manifesto containing Labour-style pledges to cap energy bills and increase the minimum wage.
The PM’s promises have been seen as an attempt to remodel the Tories as a genuine party of the centre ground in an effort to win over Labour voters and deliver a large majority ahead of Brexit negotiations.
Asked what he thought of the descriptions of Mrs May as a “red Tory”, Mr Corbyn said: “It’s a very strange description for a Prime Minister who leads a government where six million people earn less than the living wage, where thousands are sleeping on the streets every night, where social care is not available, where our hospitals are under threat.
“I think what this country needs is a government that cares for all the people.”
Asked if Mrs May was listening to his ideas, he replied: “I haven’t noticed too much listening. I’ve noticed an awful lot of dictating.”
The Labour leader was also asked by the Press Association if he thought of himself as mainstream after Mrs May promised to lead a “mainstream government for mainstream Britain”.
While on a visit to an over-50s community centre in Bedford, Mr Corbyn simply said he was putting forward polices that would “work for all”.
Asked directly if he thought he was mainstream, Mr Corbyn replied: “What we’ve put forward is a manifesto for the many, not the few.
“What we have put forward is a manifesto that does address the crucial problems of housing, of health, of education in our society, and is also serious about investing in an economy for the future, investing in infrastructure all over Britain.
“Regional devolution of investment is very, very important and we will develop an economy that works for all, not the few.”
Later at a speech to supporters in a conference centre at Peterborough United’s London Road stadium, Mr Corbyn mocked Mrs May’s apparent attempts to promote her personal leadership over the Conservative Party.
Observers have noted the PM’s campaign literature has barely mentioned the Tories, instead referring to “Theresa May’s team”.
He said: “You might have noticed yesterday another party produced a manifesto, I say another party because apparently the leader of that party doesn’t like repeating its name, so I don’t want to tread on what are obviously some very private and personal difficulties.”
He added: “It would be completely wrong of me to intrude on private grief.”