Osborne’s Evening Standard savages ‘misguided’ Tories - but urges voters to back Theresa May
George Osborne’s newspaper has grudgingly urged readers to back the Conservatives, but warned Theresa May is taking the UK in “the wrong direction”.
In a brutal editorial, the Evening Standard attacks the Prime Minister for abandoning the centre ground and “stigmatising” immigrants, and claims senior Tory figures have "reservations" about the direction of the party.
It is the latest in a series of highly critical pieces from the paper since Mr Osborne took over as editor.
A leader column last week accused the Tories of trying to create a “personality cult” around the Prime Minister and launching “the most disastrous manifesto in recent history”.
Today’s article again attacks the direction Mrs May has taken, which it says amounts to a departure from the policies of David Cameron’s leadership.
“The current Conservative leadership is moving further away from the social and economic liberalism that has made our country and its capital a global success story,” the article reads.
“That is the wrong direction. Their legitimate attempt to address the concerns of those who feel left behind by globalisation has ended with them stigmatising the value that immigration brings to Britain, and it has produced a misguided programme of intervention in business.”
The piece suggests there will be upheaval in the Conservative party even if they emerge victorious on Friday morning.
"We have seen in this campaign faces of the future like Amber Rudd and Ruth Davidson... they have maintained a disciplined silence about their reservations concerning the direction of the party before the polls; we suspect they will make their voices more forcibly heard after the election."
There are also several jibes at Mrs May’s inner circle, accusing them of being responsible for a faltering manifesto launch.
“The manifesto had little new of substance apart from a series of anti-business measures and a politically near-fatal package on social care. That is what happens when policy-making is restricted to a tiny group in the party…
“If she learns from this campaign to look beyond her tight inner circle, she will find a Conservative movement full of talent from which she can construct a real team.”
At the same time, Mrs May is praised for showing “strength and stability” in the face of the terror threat, while Jeremy Corbyn and his team are dismissed as “positively dangerous” for the UK.
The piece concludes with a clear recommendation to back Mrs May, saying:
“A vote for Labour — or the minor parties — is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn, and that man can not be allowed to become our Prime Minister. Theresa May is the only person in this election with the policies, party and people capable of leading this country.”