Tory manifesto: May's bid to be tough not cruel

Theresa May Image copyright Reuters

Don't expect hearts and flowers.

Thursday's Tory manifesto will not be presented as a description of a land where milk and honey flows. But rather look for a hard-headed assessment of the country's problems, wrapped up in arguments about why Theresa May is the person to fix them.

Against the logic put forward by many of her colleagues, she will stick to a tough message on immigration - UKIP voters who could turn Tory ever in mind.

She will present solutions on social care that in one way or another will mean more people have to pay more, and she'll means test some pensioner benefits to do it too.

They will avoid any mention of a "death tax", but her critics may well try to cast it that way.

There is a big risk too in limiting some free school meal provision.

Theresa May wants to be seen as tough, she does not want to be labelled harsh, or cruel.

But even before the manifesto is fully published, the Lib Dems have labelled her "the lunch snatcher".

If you are too young to remember, a reference to Mrs Thatcher "milk snatcher" who ended free school milk in the seventies.

We are only tonight getting the first details of the manifesto - there is more to come. Details on tax, the NHS, crime, defence.

But with what we know so far, if she wants voters to believe it's a "country for everyone'" she has quite a job to do.