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Boris Johnson says Labour under Corbyn 'detest the profit motive'

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Boris Johnson has accused the Labour leader of being as vindictive as Josef Stalin.

The UK prime minister Boris Johnson has claimed Labour “detest the profit motive,” comparing its leader Jeremy Corbyn to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Johnson used his weekly column in the Daily Telegraph to launch an extraordinary attack on his main rival on the first official day of Britain’s election campaign after parliament sat for the last time.

He claimed Corbyn’s radical plans to transform the economy and raise taxes for the wealthiest would threaten Britain’s prosperity.

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He wrote in comments splashed on the Telegraph’s frontpage: “The tragedy of the modern Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn is that they detest the profit motive so viscerally—and would raise taxes so wantonly—that they would destroy the very basis of this country’s prosperity.

“They pretend that their hatred is directed only at certain billionaires—and they point their fingers at individuals with a relish and a vindictiveness not seen since Stalin persecuted the kulaks.”

It comes after Corbyn singled out well-known billionaires including Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley and media magnate Rupert Murdoch for criticism in a speech attacking Britain’s “rigged system” last week.

Corbyn immediately hit back at Johnson, writing on Twitter: “The nonsense the super-rich will come out with to avoid paying a bit more tax...”

Corbyn came under fire from Boris Johnson over the profit motive. Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advice firm deVere Group, said it had found a growing number of wealthy clients were "legitimately worried" about a Corbyn government.

He said: “Whilst I wouldn’t have used the language employed by Mr Johnson, through his anti-business rhetoric, high tax and low-profit policies Jeremy Corbyn does routinely take swiping broadsides at the wealthy.

“There are real concerns from these individuals that should Mr Corbyn sweep into power he would increase inheritance taxes, income taxes, stamp duty and capital gains taxes, potentially even roll out capital controls, and slash other areas, such as pensions tax relief.”

Who were the Kulaks?

Stalin ran an authoritarian communist regime across the Soviet Union from 1924 to his death in 1953.

It left millions dead through famine, brutal labour camps and repression on an enormous scale. Victims included people targeted in a violent campaign as ‘kulaks,’ a class of better-off peasants.

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