Published On: Fri, Nov 1st, 2019

Labour crisis: 'Clueless' Corbyn mocked by business leaders over horror campaign speech

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.

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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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.

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.

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