Published On: Thu, Oct 31st, 2019

Brexit news: ‘Clueless’ Corbyn mocked by business leaders over horror campaign speech | UK | News

The Labour leader was attacked by prominent business leaders over an apparent lack of knowledge of business and was accused of having led “a narrow life” after Mr Corbyn focused his election campaign efforts on billionaires. Financier Crispin Odey and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley hit back at Mr Corbyn after he accused them of taking advantage of the UK’s “corrupt system”.

In his first campaign speech ahead of the December 12 general election, the leader of the opposition made a promise to pursue Britain’s richest people in a bid to carry out Labour’s renewed position as the party of the “many not the few”.

Mr Ashley, whose net worth is thought to be just over £3billion, branded Mr Corbyn as “clueless”, admitting that he fears the current state of big business.

He said: “The real problem is politicians such as Corbyn being unwilling to do anything about it.”

Mr Odey, a Tory donor who backed Brexit and runs one of the country’s biggest hedge funds, said he did not take the comments seriously.

Business leader hit out over Jeremy Corbyn's comments

Business leader hit out over Jeremy Corbyn’s comments (Image: GETTY)

Corbyn's attack was entrenched in Labour's mantra; for the many not the few

Corbyn’s attack was entrenched in Labour’s mantra; for the many not the few (Image: GETTY)

However, Mr Odey added: “He just doesn’t know many people. He has lived a narrow life. Luckily they Labour can’t even run a campaign, let alone the country.”

The Labour leader also singled out notorious media mogul Rupert Murdoch who owns as much as 50 percent of the media in certain countries, and whose media empire has traversed six of the world’s seven continents.

Other targets included the Duke of Westminster who is a major land owner, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the boss of energy firm Ineos.

Sir Jim and Mr Ashley contribute approximately £167million to the Exchequer each year.

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Mike Ashley owns Sport's Direct

Mike Ashley owns Sport’s Direct (Image: GETTY)

They both create more than 80,000 jobs, generating hundreds of millions of pounds more in income taxes.

Mr Corbyn, speaking at Battersea Arts Centre in south London, said: “You know what really scares the elite? What they’re actually afraid of is paying their taxes.

“We’re going after the tax dodgers. We’re going after the dodgy landlords. We’re going after the bad bosses. We’re going after the big polluters. Because we know whose side we’re on.”

Sir Jim has been the figure of controversy for the manner of his Brexit backing, as well as his support for the environmentally degrading fracking, by his chemicals business Ineos.


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Rupert Murdoch was another on Corbyn's hit list

Rupert Murdoch was another on Corbyn’s hit list (Image: GETTY)

The Duke of Westminster's family paid £27million in tax last year

The Duke of Westminster’s family paid £27million in tax last year (Image: GETTY)

This makes him one of the the UK’s richest people, with an estimated wealth of £18billion.

The Duke of Westminster, 28, and his family the Grosvenors, have owned 93 acres of land in Kensington and Chelsea for centuries.

They paid an estimated £27million in tax last year.

Mr Ashley is thought to be in the top 25 taxpayers in the country, having paid more than £30million this year.

Boris Johnson is currently the most popular Brexit leader

Boris Johnson is currently the most popular Brexit leader (Image: Express Newspapers)

However, Mr Ashley has been heavily criticised in the past for the treatment of Sport’s Direct staff.

In 2016, a report by the Business, Innovation and Skills committee found that the business was not treating its workers like humans.

The report urged that Mr Ashely be held accountable for the company’s failings.

MPs said that Sport’s Direct work practices were similar to those of a Victorian workhouse.

The election speech took place in Battersea, south London

The election speech took place in Battersea, south London (Image: GETTY)

They said Mr Ashley must have been aware of the “disgraceful” conditions of his staff.

Mr Odey, 60, was criticised for betting on a fall in the pound on the eve of the Brexit referendum, a gamble which is thought to have generated huge returns for his investors and himself – despite his backing of Brexit and belief in the strength of the pound.

Mr Murdoch, who was once the father-in-law of Mr Odey, has been condemned for his apparent right-wing bias and manipulation of the media outlets he owns.

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