General election 2017: Osborne: Tory plans badly thought through

George OsborneImage copyright
Reuters

Former Chancellor George Osborne has said the Conservatives have failed to think through commitments made in their election manifesto.

Mr Osborne, now editor of the London Evening Standard, stood by headlines in the paper critical of Tory pledges on social care and immigration.

He also said Theresa May had moved away from the international liberalism and globalisation pursued by David Cameron.

He was speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Political Thinking.

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Mr Osborne was critical of the Tory plan, originally included in the party’s election manifesto, to pay for social care by taking funds from the recipient’s estate after death, down to a cut-off point of £100,000.

The party has since promised to cap the amount taken from an estate, after facing a barrage of criticism.

Mr Osborne said the plans were “were clearly badly thought through, because the prime minister herself decided to rethink them.”

He also defended an Evening Standard headline denouncing Mrs May’s pledge to get annual net migration below 100,000 as “politically rash and economically illiterate”.

“The Evening Standard is saying `You have got a promise to reduce immigration so tell us how you are going to do it.

“Which section of industry is not going to have the labour it currently needs? Which families are not going to be able to be reunited with members of their families abroad? Which universities are not going to have overseas students?

“If the Conservative government can answer those questions, all well and good. If they can’t, the Evening Standard is going to go on asking the question.”

‘Not pulling punches’

Mr Osborne, who has stood down as a Conservative MP after being sacked as a chancellor by Mrs May last July, denied he was exacting his revenge on the prime minister. But he said the paper would not pull its punches.

“What the paper is doing is standing up for a set of values that the paper has long espoused and by a happy coincidence are also the values I applied as chancellor.”

He said Mrs May had taken the party in a sharply different direction since taking over from Mr Cameron, who resigned after losing the EU referendum last year.

“Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are offering, in very different ways, a retreat from international liberalism and globalisation.

“That is quite a development in British politics, and I think there are quite a lot of people who are uncertain whether that is the right development and I want to make sure that the Evening Standard is asking on their behalf questions about that.”

Mr Osborne told presenter Nick Robinson he was not missing front line politics.

“I’m really enjoying covering the campaign as an editor. It’s a very different perspective and it’s good fun.”

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