Fourteen years ago, in October 2002, May, then Tory chairman, famously warned her party it was viewed as the “Nasty Party” by many voters.
Today, in her first conference speech as prime minister, May turned the attack on Labour – to the delight of Tory party members in the audience.
She said Labour was “fighting among themselves, abusing their own MPs, threatening to end their careers, tolerating anti-Semitism and supporting voices of hate.
She added: “You know what some people call them. ‘The Nasty Party’.”
But ahead of May’s speech, Labour attacked her for having “presided over the return of the Nasty Party” with a proposal to force companies to publish a list of all foreign born employees.
Shadow home secretary Andy Burham said: “The tone of the Conservative conference has become increasingly xenophobic. Theresa May has presided over the return of the Nasty Party. Whether it’s doctors, migrants or Europe, the Tories are blaming anyone but themselves for their failure.
“The idea of British companies producing lists of foreign workers runs counter to everything that this country has ever stood for. It would be divisive, discriminatory and risks creating real hostility in workplaces and communities.
“If the Government proceeds with legislation in this area, it will face the mother of all battles.
“This week, it has become increasingly clear what the Prime Minister means by ‘hard Brexit’ and many people will find it disturbing. While we must respond to concerns expressed in the Referendum, people did not vote for this and fighting ‘hard Brexit’ must be the new frontier in progressive British politics.”