THERESA May has insisted next week’s Tory manifesto will "not duck" the challenges posed by Brexit and the compromises that might be needed as she played the patriotism card to woo Labour voters.

On the campaign trail, visiting her 20th Labour-held seat, the Prime Minister told Tory activists in Tynemouth: “So far during this campaign, we have learned one thing about Jeremy Corbyn: proud and patriotic working class people in towns and cities across Britain have not deserted the Labour Party; Jeremy Corbyn has deserted them.

“Millions of people here in the north east of England, and across our country, have loyally given the Labour Party their allegiance for generations. I respect that.

“We respect that parents and grandparents taught their children and grandchildren that Labour was a party that shared their values and stood up for their community. But across the country today, traditional Labour supporters are increasingly looking at what Jeremy Corbyn believes in and are appalled.”

She pointed to the “shambolic leak” of Labour’s manifesto, which Mrs May said was at its heart a “desire to go back to the disastrous socialist policies of the 1970s”.

“Labour voters,” the PM claimed, “are appalled because they see a leader, who can’t lead, a Shadow Chancellor, who can’t be trusted and people like Diane Abbott who can’t add up.”

Highlighting Conservative policies to cap energy bills, protect workplace pensions and improve mental health provision while investing in the armed forces, Mrs May dismissed Labour's call for the renationalisation of Britain’s rail network, noting how she was "old enough to remember the days of British Rail" and suggested that privatisation had enhanced rail services and had been "good news for customers".

The Tory leader told supporters she was stepping up election campaigning as she launched the Conservative battle bus during the visit to Northumberland.

The Prime Minister joked that she had used every type of transport except horses in recent weeks as she boarded the coach for the first time.

The blue battle bus underlines the presidential nature of the campaign with emblazoned phrases "Theresa May: For Britain" and "Strong, stable leadership in the National Interest", but the word “Conservatives” is reduced to small lettering on the door panel.

The bus is the same vehicle used by the ill-fated Remain campaign during last year’s European Union referendum campaign.

While Mrs May hopes the bus will boost her Brexit mandate, a year ago the Stronger In vehicle's logos promised "more jobs" and "lower prices" if the UK voted to remain in the EU.