Hunt says Corbyn ‘not fit for high office’ in pitch to young Tories

Jeremy Hunt has urged Tories to back him to be the next prime minister to help keep Labour out of power.

The Foreign Secretary claimed Jeremy Corbyn was “not fit for high office” because he believes “Britain is a force for evil in the world”.

But Mr Hunt acknowledged that his party faced an uphill battle to win over young voters who had turned to Mr Corbyn’s Labour.

In a speech to the Young Conservatives conference in Nottingham, Mr Hunt said: “Between 2015 and 2017, Labour’s lead among 18-to-24-year-olds doubled and our support halved to just 13%.

“But we cannot be the party of aspiration if we can’t attract the support of the most aspirational people in our society – and attract it we will, because that is what I am going to change as prime minister.”

As part of his pitch to young voters, Mr Hunt has pledged to cut tuition fee interest rates, introduce a new Right To Own scheme to help people get on the housing ladder, and tackle climate change and pollution with plans including 2.5 million electric car charging points.

Turning on Mr Corbyn, Mr Hunt said: “I do not say this lightly, but the Labour Party are offering up a candidate for prime minister who is not fit for high office.”

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

He claimed the Labour leader “is wrong about everything” and “a man who thinks Britain is a force for evil in the world, who chooses his allies based on how much they hate America, and has never believed in the values of the country he wants to lead”.

Mr Hunt said the Tories needed to win over the public through “competence, delivery and serious leadership”, rather than “populism”.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is the clear favourite in the Tory leadership race, but Mr Hunt urged Conservative members to make a “hard choice for the future” rather than a “feel-good one for the summer” when they cast their ballots.

Mr Hunt’s campaign published a letter signed by 25 young Tories who have switched their support from Mr Johnson, saying that “Boris is held in great affection across our party, but the gravity of the task before us demands a leader with the seriousness to meet it”.