Theresa May branded Labour as the "nasty party", a slogan the Conservatives were once tarnished with, as she attempted to park her Tory tanks on the centre ground of British politics today (4 October).

The prime minister won a standing ovation from Conservative delegates at the party's conference in Birmingham.

May went onto cite Labour's in-fighting and anti-Semitism scandals. "Labour Party is not just divided, it's divisive... You know what some people call them? The nasty party," she said.

The Conservative premier claimed Labour had "abandoned" the centre ground under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, with a promise that her government would "step up".

"They've given up the right to call themselves the party of the NHS, the party of the workers, the party of public servants." May said.

The prime minister made a concerted bid to woo "ordinary, working class" voters, while promising to deliver action.

"That's what government's about: action. It's about doing something, not being someone. About identifying injustices, finding solutions, driving change. Taking – not shirking – the big decisions. Having the courage to see things through," she said.

May received a strong reception throughout from the Tory faithful, with a light applause for her predecessor at Number 10 David Cameron – who has not been spotted at the party's conference.

Conservative party conference
Prime Minister Theresa May makes her keynote address on the fourth day of the Conservative party conference at the ICC in Birmingham Joe Giddens/ PA

Former Chancellor George Osborne was also praised by May as she promised to keep his Northern Powerhouse project, regarding political and economic devolution in the north of England, alive.

May's slogan of the day was an "economy that works for everybody". She promised the Conservative would "always believe in free markets", but echoed Edmund Burke's reformist philosophy to make the case for state intervention.

In particular, the prime minister said the housing market "must work for working people", following the announcement earlier this week that her government had assigned £5bn to promote property building.

May also talked tough on tax. "It doesn't matter to me, who you are. If you are a tax dodger, we will come after you," she warned.

Elsewhere, the Conservative leader addressed the issue of the NHS. May paid tribute to NHS doctors and nurses across the UK, while attacking Labour for using the health service to "divide us". She also described Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the "most passionate advocate" for patients, doctors and nurses.

There were, of course, mentions of Brexit. May and her cabinet colleagues outlined some of their plans on the first day of the Conservative conference, with the prime minister promising to trigger Article 50 – the official mechanism to split from the EU – by March 2017.

The former Remain campaigner won cheers from delegates for describing the result of the EU referendum as a "quiet revolution", in which millions of people indicated that they were "not prepared to be ignored anymore".

Westminster watchers will have to wait just over a fortnight to get an indication of what voters thought of her speech, with a by-election in Cameron's old seat of Witney and West Oxfordshire on October 20. The Tories are expected to retain the constituency, but the wider focus will be on the party's vote share.