Conservative Party advisers may be considering whether it was a good move for Theresa May not to take part in a TV debate as social media users made much of how the prime minister was conspicuous by her absence.

With Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, entering the fray at the 11th hour to take part in what turned out to be a seven-strong debate on the BBC on Wednesday (31 May), May's absence was a recurring motif for the other politicians and for Twitter users.

The official Twitter account for the US political show House of Cards, whose fifth series was released on Netflix this week, made a pointed comment about a political decision made by May on the other side of the pond.

In a post that was shared over 13,000 times, it said: "Theresa May. They respect you more when you show strength. Or show up".

One wrote: "Search continues for strong and stable leader", "Concerns grow for missing coward" and "Help us raise awareness, can you help us find Theresa".

And in a nod to the comment by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron who said "Theresa May might be sizing up your house", in reference to Conservative policy which would see elderly voters in England with more than £100,000 in assets have to pay for their social care costs, one person tweeted "Peering out my window to see if Theresa May is outside my house".

It was left to Home Secretary Amber Rudd to defend the prime minister only days after the death of her 93-year-old father.

A YouGov poll shows the Tories' lead has fallen to only three points over Labour, which at 39 points is at its most popular since February 2014.

The Times reported that the prime minister will ditch the personal attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, with the view that it is not going down well with voters. She will seek to rejuvenate her campaign in the north east on Thursday (1 June) and appeal to those who backed Brexit.

She will say in her speech: "This great national moment needs a great national effort in which we pull together with a unity of purpose and — however we voted in the referendum last June — we come together with a determination to make a success of the years ahead," the Times reported.

BBC TV debate
The party leaders, minus Theresa May, take part in the televised BBC debate on Wednesday 31 May Reuters