Tories failed to show Corbyn government a colossal threat, says Fox

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Liam Fox claimed a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn was a “colossal threat” to the next generation as he warned the Conservatives failed to spell this out at the last election.

The International Trade Secretary launched an attack on the Labour leader while adding that global investors feared the “dark forces bubbling under the surface of the hard-left”, labelling these as “anti-wealth, anti-trade and anti-Semitic”.

He also demanded the European Union comes forward with fresh Brexit proposals, adding “taunting” of Prime Minister Theresa May after the Salzburg summit was “beyond the pale”.

Mr Fox speaking at the Conservative Party conference
Liam Fox speaking at the Conservative Party conference

“They fear a Corbyn Labour government that would steal their investments and call it nationalisation.”

To muted applause, he added: “They fear the dark forces bubbling under the surface of the hard-left – anti-wealth, anti-trade and anti-Semitic.”

Mr Fox went on: “A party which is not the future of the young but the betrayers of the young, whose reckless spending plans would leave an economic wasteland and a generation or more of debt to be repaid.

“Frankly, we failed to spell that out at the last election.

“We must now call out Corbyn’s hard-left Labour Party for what they actually are, a colossal threat to the next generation and to the security and wellbeing of our country itself.”

Turning on the EU, Mr Fox also said: “We have a right to expect our EU partners to engage seriously, and with respect, on our shared future relationship.

“It is simply not acceptable to dismiss the UK’s proposals without putting any other alternative in place.”

Mr Fox said the UK has made its position clear, explaining this includes leaving the customs union and single market, ending free movement, and not allowing the UK to be divided.

He added: “If they don’t like our proposals, let them set out their own.

“I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one after Salzburg to feel that taunting Theresa May, one of the most unfailingly polite people I have ever met, was absolutely beyond the pale.

“What the British want is for us just to get on with it.”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street earlier took aim at the EU when he joked: “During the Napoleonic Wars, Birmingham manufactured nearly two million guns for the Duke of Wellington.

“The Spitfires which won the Battle of Britain were built at Castle Bromwich.

“Today in Wolverhampton, weapons systems for the F-35 Fighter are coming off the production line.

“Perhaps (European Council President) Donald Tusk and (French president) Emmanuel Macron should remember that the next time they pick a fight with our Prime Minister.”

Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said: “Liam Fox needs to understand that hurling insults at the leaders of other European countries is no substitute for a proper trade strategy.

“The Tories have nothing to offer British businesses except chaos and uncertainty. It’s time for Theresa May to make way for a Labour government before it’s too late.”

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