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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...