PM compares Corbyn with Stalin as he launches Tory election campaign
Boris Johnson has compared Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, as the Prime Minister kicked off the Tory campaign to remain in power.
As he was launching the Conservatives’ election bid, Mr Johnson claimed the opposition leader shared Stalin’s “hatred” of wealth creators.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, which said the PM was exclusively launching the Tory General Election campaign in the paper, Mr Johnson said that the Conservatives would “cheer, not sneer” entrepreneurs if they stay in office after the snap December general election.
Mr Johnson said the Labour leader has taken a stance that demonises billionaires with a “relish and a vindictiveness” not seen since Stalin’s attitude to landowners following the Russian revolution.
The comments came as Mr Johnson was set to use the launch of the Tories’ campaign to stay in Government to put withdrawal from the EU, the NHS and law and order centre stage in the campaign.
As well as firing the starting pistol for the Conservative campaign in the West Midlands on Wednesday, the PM is expected to go to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the Queen, and announce the start of the election drive in Downing Street.
Mr Johnson is expected to say: “There is only one way to get Brexit done, and I am afraid the answer is to ask the people to change this blockading parliament.
“I don’t want an election. No prime minister wants an early election, especially not in December.
“But as things stand we simply have no choice – because it is only by getting Brexit done in the next few weeks that we can focus on all the priorities of the British people.”
Mr Johnson will say that Britain needs to change.
He is expected to say: “It’s time to change the dismal pattern of the last three years and to get out of our rut.
“It’s time to end this debilitating delay.
“Let’s go with this Conservative government, get Brexit done, and unleash the potential of our great country – delivering on the public’s priorities of our NHS, crime and the cost of living.
“Meanwhile the alternative is clear – Jeremy Corbyn and his two favourite advisers, dither and delay, turning 2020 into the year of two miserable referendums, one on the EU, and another on Scotland.
“And remember that a vote for any other minor party is effectively a vote for Corbyn, and his catastrophic political and economic programme.”
The PM also spoke to US president Donald Trump on trade issues on Tuesday evening.
Mr Corbyn will say on Wednesday that Labour will end the need for food banks if it takes power.
The Labour leader will say that a Labour government will end “in-work poverty” and rough sleeping.
He is using a speech in Telford, Shropshire, on Wednesday to insist the party will deliver “real change” and that he will be a different kind of prime minister if elected on December 12.
Mr Corbyn will also say he will make sure that more than 100,000 “genuinely affordable” homes are built every year, and that rough sleeping comes to an end.
He will say he would be a “very different kind of prime minister” who “only seeks power in order to share power”.
Mr Corbyn will say: “The politics I stand for is about sharing power and wealth with people who don’t have a lot of money and don’t have friends in high places.”
He will add: “The future is ours to make. I want a Labour government to be judged by whether it changes people’s lives for the better after five years.
“Judge us on the real change we deliver, the concrete improvements to the lives of millions.
“Judge us on whether in-work poverty still exists in five years’ time.
“Judge us on whether people are still sleeping rough after five years of a Labour government.
“Judge us on whether proud women and men are still having to depend on food banks five years into a Labour government.
“Judge us on whether we’ve got Brexit sorted within six months so we can get on with delivering the real change that Britain needs.”
The sharp exchanges came as Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg apologised “profoundly” for suggesting Grenfell victims should have used “common sense” and ignored fire service guidance not to leave the burning tower block.
Mr Rees-Mogg faced widespread criticism, including from Grenfell survivors and Mr Corbyn, after he said people are safer if they “just ignore what you’re told and leave”, while discussing London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) “stay-put” policy.
Mr Rees-Mogg said on LBC on Monday: “I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building.
“It just seems the common sense thing to do, and it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.”
Grenfell United, which represents survivors and the bereaved, had said his words were “beyond disrespectful” and “extremely painful and insulting to bereaved families”.
On Tuesday, Number 10 was forced to say that the Prime Minister still had confidence in Mr Rees-Mogg, after he said: “I profoundly apologise. What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade’s advice to stay and wait at the time.”
Meanwhile, Chancellor Sajid Javid was caught up in a row after it was reported that the civil service had stopped attempts by him to cost Labour’s election promises.