Theresa May on Wednesday distanced herself from the tone taken by some newspapers in covering her decision to call a snap election, which some have labelled “chilling” and “bitter and twisted”.
The Daily Mail sent shudders across social media with its front page featuring a close-up of the prime minster with the headline: “Crush the saboteurs”.
It described May’s decision as a “stunning move” and claimed she was calling the bluff of “Remoaners”.
May was quizzed about the tone of the Mail’s front page on BBC’s Radio 4 programme on Wednesday and said she “absolutely” did not agree with it.
“Absolutely not, politics and democracy are about, of course, people having different opinions, different views,” she said.
“It’s important in Parliament that people are able to challenge what the government is doing, that there is proper debate and scrutiny now hat the government is doing – and that’s what there will be.”
The splash was also criticised by many MPs and former MPs who suggested by “saboteurs” the newspaper meant those who disagree with a hard Brexit.
The Sun’s ‘Blue Murder’ headline also featured in some social media posts, with MP Anna Turley commenting: “Am really hoping this election can be held without the levels of aggression or violence we have seen in recent referendums.”
In a speech on the steps of Downing Street on Tuesday morning, May said an election was needed to “secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond”.
She added: “We need a general election and we need one now.”
The move was branded “an extraordinary U-turn” by Nicola Sturgeon, who said it was “a huge political miscalculation”.
An election had not been due until 2020 – and May said herself repeatedly that was when the next vote would be.