Philip Hammond tears into 'Jurassic Park' Labour for 'manipulating' voters
Philip Hammond has launched a full-throttle attack on Labour, calling the party leadership "dinosaurs" who are "preying on the fears" of the British electorate.
Attacks on the opposition dominated the Chancellor's keynote speech at the Conservative conference in Manchester, with Mr Hammond repeatedly going after Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
He said it was up to his party to make the arguments for free markets to stop young people attracted to Mr Corbyn's being led down a "dangerous path".
"The hard left are preying on people’s worries, manipulating their fears, luring them with false promises," he said.
"It’s a wicked and cynical business offering superficially simple solutions to complex challenges."
Theresa May made a similar point last week in her speech extolling the virtues of the free market.
In what he himself described as a "history lesson", Mr Hammond pointed to both Labour's own record in the 1970s and the experience of countries such as Cuba and Venezuela to argue that leftwing policies would lead the UK to economic catastrophe.
And he accused his opponents of a "wicked and cynical" attempt to con people into voting for an unrealistic set of policies.
"We also need to understand why we are having this argument again an argument that both we Conservatives, and politicians of the centre-left, thought we had won so decisively that the one or two remaining proponents of hard-left socialism in Parliament like Corbyn and McDonnell were for years treated almost as museum pieces dinosaurs, worth preserving for the sake of historical curiosity.
"But last week at Brighton the dinosaurs had broken out of their glass cases, their political DNA apparently uncontaminated by any contact with the reality of thirty years of global economic development ready to wreak havoc fighting the battles of the past using the language of the past, all over again, a sort of political version of Jurassic Park.
And he even claimed that Jeremy Corbyn was already contributing to a loss of confidence in British business, saying:
"We will always do what is right for Britain and colleagues, what is right for Britain now includes keeping Jeremy Corbyn, and his clique, far away from power, or even a sniff of it.
"He is a clear and present danger to our prosperity damaging our economy, even in opposition his loose talk already deterring the entrepreneurs and the investors we need for our future success.
"By abandoning market economics Corbyn’s Labour has abandoned the aspirations of ordinary working people. And we must be the party which picks them up and delivers on them."
The speech received predictably short shrift from Mr McDonnell, who took to Twitter to accuse Mr Hammond of a "rant" designed to distract from the Tories' own record.