May government 'flirting with anti-capitalism' - top Tory

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Theresa May's government appears to be "flirting with anti-capitalism", an influential Conservative backbencher has warned.

Former minister George Freeman, who was appointed chairman of the Prime Minister's Policy Board last year, said the Tory campaign for June's general election showed a "woeful" lack of support for enterprise.

And he said it was "inexplicable" that the Conservative Party had joined in a "creeping sense of hostility" towards business across British politics since last year's Brexit vote.

"Of all the distortions of Conservatism which this year's weirdly dissonant Conservative campaign perpetrated, focusing instead on a hard Brexit message which worries business, the lack of championing of British enterprise was the most woeful," Mr Freeman told the Daily Telegraph.

"Thirty years after unleashing a renaissance of enterprise which reversed this country's economic prospects in the space of just seven years, a Conservative government confronted by a growing anti-globalisation backlash seems to be flirting with anti-capitalism."

The Mid-Norfolk MP, who was life sciences minister under David Cameron but lost his government post when Mrs May came to power, said it was right for a Tory administration to fight against "fat cattery and cosy cartel capitalism", but said the party should always promote "real entrepreneurship".

He urged fellow Tories to champion capitalism at a time when "popular support for business is waning" , particularly among the young.

"The truth is that a whole generation has lived through a period in which the benefits of capitalism have not been obvious to them," he said.

"Is it any wonder that the virtues and benefits of capitalism are not apparent to them? Why would you support capitalism if you have no prospect of owning any capital?"