Jeremy Corbyn backs John McDonnell and says Marx was a 'great economist'

Posted On: 
8th May 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire after describing Karl Marx as a "great economist" - just a day after John McDonnell also heaped praise on the communist icon.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning in Leamington Spa this afternoon
Credit: 
PA

The Shadow Chancellor - who has previously described himself as a Marxist - said there was “a lot to learn” from his seminal book Das Kapital.

On the campaign trail today, Mr Corbyn also said he was an admirer of Marx, who called for the abolition of private property and said "strong government and heavy taxes are identical".

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He said: "All great economists influence all of our thinking. Yes, I have read some of Adam Smith, I have read some of Karl Marx, I have looked at the words of Ricardo, I have looked at many, many others.

"I don't consider myself the world's greatest intellectual but you learnt from everybody, don't close your mind to the thoughts of others - that way, we're all better informed."

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr McDonnell said: "I believe there's a lot to learn from reading Kapital, yes, of course there is - and that's been recommended not just by me but many others, mainstream economists as well."

The Tories seized on Mr Corbyn’s remarks as evidence that he wanted to follow Marxist-style policies if elected on 8 June.

James Cleverly, who is running for re-election in Braintree, said: "First John McDonnell said there’s a ‘lot to learn’ from Karl Marx, now Jeremy Corbyn calls him a ‘great economist’ who is shaping Labour policy.

“It’s clear these two Marx brothers are determined to unleash their hero’s dangerous ideas on Britain - sending taxes soaring and destroying jobs."

Liberal Democrat candidate Tom Brake said: "Jeremy Corbyn deserves full Marx for this latest gaffe. Corbyn and McDonnell seem to be competing to see who can make Labour more unelectable.

"At this rate, the Labour manifesto will be laced with quotes from Das Kapital. It’s clear only the Lib Dems can provide a strong and credible alternative to the Conservative government."