Tory MPs left reeling as Iain Duncan Smith links CBI to Nazi appeasement
Just when you thought that the Tory war with corporate Britain could not escalate further...
When Boris Johnson recently uttered the immortal words "fuck business" at a Foreign Office reception many Tory MPs were flabbergasted.
"Never thought I would see a Conservative government at war with business - too depressing for words,” one minister told ITV political editor Robert Peston.
But if anyone thought that the Tory war with corporate Britain could not escalate further, then Iain Duncan Smith has done his best to prove them wrong with an extraordinary article in the Mail.
Most contentiously, the former party leader implies that the CBI can’t be trusted because its forerunner organisation supported the appeasement of the Nazis.
While the piece has been ridiculed on social media, one of the most clear-headed rebuttals was provided by The Guardian’s liveblog supremo Andrew Sparrow.
“What’s remarkable about this is not that it’s wrong; it is Duncan Smith’s complete absence of self-awareness (and arguable hypocrisy),” he states.
“The Federation of British Industries may have supported appeasement, but no one promoted it more than the Conservative party under the leadership of Neville Chamberlain. Is Duncan Smith says no one should ever trust the Conservative party because of their 1930s foreign policy?
“To this, you could add that after the war the Conservatives also accepted much of the post-war Labour economic agenda, leading to the term “Butskellism” being coined. And, of course, if you want to write an article arguing that support for appeasement and undue sympathy towards Nazis 80 years ago are proof that an institution’s views have no value today, then the Daily Mail is probably one of the worst places you could choose to publish it."
A CBI spokesperson said: “Hasn’t he got better things to do? Business is getting on with making a success of Brexit, not avoiding the issues that matter for jobs by repeating tired, old nonsense from the Referendum.”
Meanwhile Tory MP Bob Neill said: “People who rubbish business damage the party and they damage the national interest. It is so ludicrous it verges on the bizarre, frankly, and it is wholly contrary to the interests of the Conservative Party.”
And the Conservative MP Heidi Allen told The Independent: "The parallels he draws in this article show he is losing his 'hard' Brexit argument, but more disappointingly for me personally, also my respect."