Votes for Brexit and Trump due to frozen living standards, says Heseltine

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Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has said votes for Brexit and Donald Trump happened because people are "fed up" with "frozen living standards".

The Conservative politician spoke at a University of Liverpool conference about the future of cities, universities and businesses after the EU referendum.

He said: "In my experience, if people have frozen living standards for a long period of time, whether it be by-elections, general elections, any test of public opinion, they kick the Government."


He added: "The western world has gone through as prolonged a period of frozen living standards as in contemporary times.

"People are fed up.

"So any attempt made to test their opinion becomes a test about their own self prosperity, or lack of it.

"That is happening all over Europe, it has happened now with Mr Trump in America, and if you throw into the mix the most obvious irritant, let's be frank, immigration, then you have got a toxic mix in appealing to public opinion."

But he reserved judgement on the new American president-elect.

He said: "I couldn't have voted for Donald Trump, I have to make that absolutely clear.

"As a student of politics, I read what he says since he became president-elect and the interesting thing about what he says is how different it is to what he said before he got elected."

He added: "I really don't know what Donald Trump is going to do, maybe you all do, maybe the Americans do, but I don't think you can be sure what he will do because he seems capable of adjustment."

Lord Heseltine warned of a "serious prolonged period of uncertainty" following the vote to leave the EU.

He said: "There will be a price for that uncertainty."

In the speech, held at the Maritime Museum on Liverpool's Albert Dock, he also spoke of the possibility of more right-wing governments being elected in France and Germany.

He said: "The other alternative, of course, is that you get more right-wing governments who not only don't like the free movement, but actually want to revert to protectionism - barriers to protect their own national interests.

"But, we've been here before - not for 70 years - but it is not a new European phenomenon."

The peer, who supported the campaign to remain in Europe, made headlines earlier this month when he was forced to deny strangling his mother's dog to death.