Hanson attacks Labour Party

Lord Hanson, one of the elder statesmen of British industry, yesterday used his shareholders' annual meeting to launch a broadside at the Labour Party and its aspirations to power. Lord Hanson, 73, defending Hanson PLC's continuing patronage of the Conservative Party - it donated £100,000 to the Tories in 1994 - told shareholders: "For all its posturing as the friend of business Labour is still committed to the European socialist manifesto." This policy, he said, struck at "the very heart of UK manufacturing industry."

His comments triggered an immediate confrontation with Labour, with the shadow secretary for trade and industry, Dr Jack Cunningham, branding the multi-millionaire as "blinkered, ill-informed and hopelessly politically biased."

Lord Hanson, who is chairman of the company and paid £1.3m a year, cited "the excesses of Labour councils" as evidence that Tony Blair's reconstructed Labour was unsuited to rule.

The Yorkshire-born peer, whose sprawling empire straddles the Atlantic and embraces everything from coal mining and cigarettes to brick manufacture, told shareholders at the annual meeting in London: "Remember what happened to inflation and the pound in your pocket the last time we had a Labour government."

Last year Lord Hanson's group also gave £15,000 to the Centre for Policy Studies, a Conservative right-wing thinktank.

The Tories believed in backing business enterprise, he said, adding that policies brought in by Margaret Thatcher's government had been a dynamic influence on the success of his company.

He said: "The way forward is to encourage the party that believes in the creation of national wealth, not spending it."

He told shareholders that the contribution to the Conservative Party had to be seen in the context of a company making profits of £1.3bn last year. The annual report also revealed that in the past two years Hanson has made worldwide charitable donations of £6.5m.

A Hanson spokesman said the company had supported the Tory party for at least 10 years, with annual contributions ranging from £50,000 to £100,000.

The influential industrialist's comments yesterday come against the backcloth of moves by Labour to convince Britain's industry leaders that it poses no threat to entrepreneurial dynamism.

Dr Cunningham said that while Lord Hanson may have personally benefited from Conservative industrial policies, he could not pretend that this was true for British industry as a whole.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project