City chiefs hit back at Jeremy Corbyn last night after the Labour leader launched a stinging personal attack on some of the country’s most prominent business figures.
Retail tycoon Mike Ashley, branded a “bad boss” by Corbyn, told City A.M. the Labour leader was “clueless” and accused him of lying.
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And hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, who was blasted as one of the “greedy bankers… who makes millions betting against our country”, described the ad hominem attack as “ridiculous.”
Speaking before the party faithful at an event in Battersea, Corbyn railed against “the establishment elite”, naming self-made billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the Duke of Westminster in addition to Ashley and Odey as examples of those who Labour would “go after.”
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Sports Direct boss Ashley rubbished the claims — which included a reference to a specific instance in which one of Ashley’s employees was allegedly “forced to give birth in a warehouse toilet because she was terrified of missing her shift.” He told City A.M. that the Islington North MP was “not only a liar but clueless.”
In a surprising turn, Ashley added: “I agree 100 per cent that the system is corrupt as proven by the recent case of Debenhams and Goals, where yet again the independent shareholders get wiped out.”
He continued: “The real problem is politicians such as Corbyn being unwilling to do anything about it.”
CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn also weighed in, saying “Labour has been silent on the value business brings for too long, focusing solely on the negatives.”
“It is wrong to ignore the hundreds of thousands of brilliant british businesses working tirelessly to provide great jobs,” she added.
Odey, a Conservative donor, told City A.M. that it was “ridiculous that (Corbyn) should make it personal — but I don’t take it personally.”
The asset management boss hit back at Labour’s previous assertion that hedge fund managers were shorting the pound as part of a no-deal conspiracy, saying “it’s so ludicrous I don’t know where to start.”
He called on Boris Johnson and the Conservatives to deliver a manifesto that championed “a policy of enterprise and low tax” to counter Labour’s “one story — to steal the wealth, not build the wealth.”