Theresa May took her "strong and stable leadership" message into deep Labour territory as she toured the North East of England on Friday (12 May).

The prime minister may be playing down the opinion polls, which put the Conservatives up to 22 points ahead of Labour, but the locations of her speeches suggest the Tories are expecting big gains on 8 June.

"I'm taking absolutely nothing for granted, I'm going to be continuing to campaign across the whole of the country and in doing that I'm taking a very positive message across the country," May said.

"It's the message about strong and stable leadership in the national interest, about strengthening the UK's position so that we get the best deal for Britain from Europe and about building a better future for the country.

"Every vote for my local candidates, here in the North East of England and across United Kingdom, will strengthen my hand in those crucial Brexit negotiations. The alternative is to risk making Jeremy Corbyn prime minister."

A number of seats in the North East could switch from Labour to the Conservatives on 8 June, such as Hartlepool, Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Tynemouth.

The latter constituency, which has a Labour majority of more than 8,000 votes, was last held by the Tories in 1997 until Tony Blair's New Labour landslide swept the working-class coastal seat up.

Corbyn, meanwhile, put foreign policy on the general election agenda as he spoke at Chatham House, London, on Friday.

The Labour leader, a former Stop the War Coalition chair and anti-nuclear activist, declared that he was not a pacifist and criticised US President Donald Trump.

"A Labour Government will want a strong and friendly relationship with the United States. But we will not be afraid to speak our mind," Corbyn said.

"The US is the strongest military power on the planet by a very long way. It has a special responsibility to use its power with care and to support international efforts to resolve conflicts collectively and peacefully.

He added: "Britain deserves better than simply outsourcing our country's security and prosperity to the whims of the Trump White House. So no more hand holding with Trump."

With just under four weeks to go before the election, the latest YouGov poll, of more than 1,600 people between 9–10 May, put the Conservatives 16 points ahead of Labour (46% versus 30%).