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Chris Grayling: Jeremy Corbyn's promises will 'melt like ice cream' under scrutiny

Chris Grayling: Jeremy Corbyn's promises will 'melt like ice cream' under scrutiny
3 min read

A senior Cabinet minister has insisted Labour’s election pledges will melt like “ice cream in the heat of the sun”, as he defended the Conservative attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

Chris Grayling said that, while the Tories needed to put forward a “positive vision” to win the next election, the party also had to highlight the dangers of a Labour government.

The Transport Secretary, who ran Theresa May’s leadership campaign last summer, sounded the alarm about Mr Corbyn’s potential appeal back in January, when he said the Tories needed to “step up a gear”.

The Conservatives went on to lose seats in June’s general election, with several Tories complaining that a focus on Mr Corbyn’s historical associations and views had come at the expense of articulating the party’s own programme for government.

In a piece for the ConservativeHome website, Mr Grayling argued that a “negative strategy” of challenging Mr Corbyn’s policies had to be accompanied by a more positive vision.

He wrote: “The truth is that we will need both going forward. In the General Election that is scheduled for 2022 we will be asking the electorate to back us for a fourth term in office – albeit over a shorter period of time than some previous administrations.

“We won’t get that mandate without articulating a positive vision, nor without a positive track record.”

The former employment minister identified the fall in the number of households with nobody in work, education reforms, and the march of the technological industry in the UK as some of the Government’s most notable achievements since 2010.

But he stressed the need to challenge Labour on its plans to hike taxes on businesses and higher earners to fund £50bn of additional day-to-day spending per year.

Hitting out at Mr Corbyn’s pledge to abolish tuition fees – and his campaign statement that he would “deal with” historical student debt – Mr Grayling wrote:  

“At the election they promised to abolish student fees, and to pay for it by putting up taxes on big business. They never explained that a tax rise of that kind would simply drive those businesses and the jobs they provide out of the UK.

“I want the students of tomorrow to have excellent job prospects. Penalising business is hardly a strategy likely to provide those prospects.

“And as we now know, many of those election promises were an illusion. Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to write off the debt of past students proved as durable as an ice cream in the heat of the sun. Time and again Labour politicians struggle to explain in interviews how their policies add up. Because they don’t.

“So we mustn’t take as a lesson from the election campaign that we should stop challenging Corbyn and his illusory promises. Just the opposite. We should redouble our efforts to expose the damage that they would do to this country.”

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