Poll numbers suggested that Labour would lose a large number of seats; one member of his own party predicted a “historic and catastrophic defeat”.
“Set free from the shackles of European Union control, we will be a great, global trading nation once again bringing new jobs and new opportunities for ordinary working families here at home”, said May, who backed the “Remain” campaign for last year’s referendum on European Union membership.
Several political parties including Mrs May’s Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party suspended campaigning yesterday, but the prime minister said it would resume today.
Yet as voting day looms, those fears are looking less and less likely.
The UK Labour party leader has received an important boost from the Vermont senator and leading American progressive Bernie Sanders, who faced off against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic party primaries past year.
Her comments were echoed by her finance minister, Philip Hammond, though May has stoked speculation about Hammond’s future by refusing to say whether she will reappoint him if she wins the election.
At the same time, Corbyn has been able to portray himself as an anti-establishment underdog, proffering populist spending increases, and he has largely avoided major mistakes. Almost 3 million more people voted in the referendum than at the 2015 national election, with the biggest increases in leave-supporting areas, like Wakefield in northern England.
In a two-part BBC Question Time broadcast last night the Prime Minister defended her decision to call a vote and denied that her campaign was an exercise in hiding from the electorate.
But a bullish Mrs May told the audience she had the “balls” to call an election because she wanted a strong hand to negotiate Brexit and claimed a minority government led by Mr Corbyn would be propped up by the SNP.
Why? Because I don’t think the British government should be representing just the 51.9% of Brits who voted in favour of leaving the EU.
Mr Corbyn replies: “Bombing is wrong, all bombing is wrong, of course I condemn it”.
Mr Corbyn also repeated his vow to pursue a foreign policy aimed at addressing the issue of “ungoverned spaces” in war-torn countries like Libya where extremism can flourish. Corbyn is a lifelong opponent to nuclear weapons and has said he would not, as prime minister, use nuclear weapons which he described as “disastrous” for the whole planet.
It was that sort of rhetoric, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded, that had created “a toxic climate” for negotiations.
His stance won support from some.
Then came the tricky period, particularly when a nurse outlined how the public sector pay cap has meant her wages had failed to keep pace with inflation in recent years.
The Prime Minister said it was important to consult with organisations involved in elderly care to make sure it is set at the “right level”.
Mrs May was unapologetic.
I don’t know what she was doing – Britain’s Got Talent was on the other side so maybe she shut the curtains and hoped it would all just go away.