THERESA May launched the Tory general election campaign from a parish church hall in Bolton today.
The Prime Minister was in Egerton, in the Labour-held target seat of Bolton North East, to deliver her first address of the campaign, just hours after MPs voted in favour of a snap election on June 8.
She arrived nearby by helicopter and spent around 15 minutes addressing local party activists and the nation's media, telling the crowd in Walmsley Parish Hall that only she could deliver strong and stable leadership for the country.
Mrs May said: "Only you can give us the mandate, so vote for a strong and stable leadership in this country.
"Vote for strong and stable leadership this country needs.
"Give me the mandate to lead Britain. Give me the mandate to speak for Britain.
"Give me the mandate to fight for Britain. And give me the mandate to deliver for Britain."
The vicar's daughter was speaking from the church hall where local amateur dramatics performers - Walmsley Church AODS - are practising for their next production, the musical comedy High Society.
Mrs May, who was cheered during the speech by activists holding placards with the words 'Strong and Stable Leadership in the national interest', added: "We are going to fight a positive and optimistic campaign about the future of this country."
With opinion polls putting the Tories on course for a landslide victory, Sir David Crausby's Bolton North East seat will be one that the Prime Minister will be hoping to steal on June 8.
Sir David, who confirmed on Tuesday that he intends to stand for re-election, predicted that it would be a "difficult" election for his party.
The 70-year-old, who was knighted last month, has held the seat since 1997 but has seen his majority decrease from more than 12,000 to 4,377.
Mrs May said: "It is only with the Conservatives that you get the strong and stable leadership that this country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.
"If we have that certainty of five more years of strong and stable leadership then we can ensure we are delivering for ordinary working people up and down the country, across the whole UK.
"I'm going to be getting out and about. I'm going to be visiting communities in every part of this country."
The Tories will also be keen to give MP Chris Green a stronger majority in his Bolton West seat, won from Julie Hilling by a margin of just 801 two years ago.
Bolton West has long been a key marginal seat between Labour and the Tories, with the two major parties separated by only 92 votes in 2010.
Mrs May said voters had a choice, her leadership, or a "coalition of chaos led by Jeremy Corbyn."
She said: "They are very clear that they want to do everything they can to frustrate our Brexit negotiations, to undermine the job we have to do, the tasks that lie ahead. Do everything to stop us from taking Britain forward.
"And it's their tunnel vision, focused on independence that actually provides uncertainty. They want to pull the strings of this election, prop up Jeremy Corbyn and provide more risk and uncertainty and that's not in Britain's interest."
Bolton Conservative leader David Greenhalgh, who selected the parish hall as a venue, was "delighted" that the Prime Minister chose Bolton for her first stop on the campaign trail.
He said: "We are in the heart of marginal territory here. She is the only person who has the ability to deliver on the Brexit negotiations.
"Voters will see that her leadership qualities are far superior to Jeremy Corbyn, who can't lead his own party, and Tim Farron, who is prepared to jump on any bandwagon going.
"Bolton North East will be a difficult challenge, but it is an area that was very supportive of the Leave campaign and Theresa May is the leader who will deliver the best possible Brexit deal for Britain."
He added that the party would take nothing for granted as they try to increase Mr Green's majority in Bolton West.
Mr Green, who could not make it back from Parliament to attend the campaign launch, said: "Theresa May has demonstrated her commitment to represent the whole of the country.
"The Labour Party has taken seats in the North for granted and this is an opportunity for people who are fed up with Jeremy Corbyn's leadership to vote Conservative for maybe the first time in their lives."
Egerton resident Julia Head, a retired teacher, said: "I am delighted the Prime Minister has come here and that the coverage has shown Bolton in a positive light.
"It is nice to see that this election is not going to be all about London. Investment and jobs need to come to the North and I think she is a very competent Prime Minister."
Ken White, aged 78, of Cox Green Road, said: "It is fantastic that Theresa May has come here, it puts Egerton on the map.
"It shows that she cares about the North and I hope we will get other senior ministers coming to Bolton too."