Panama papers: Sir Alan Duncan MP says critics of David Cameron are low-achievers who hate the rich

Sir Alan Duncan says: 'We risk seeing a House of Commons which is stuffed full of low-achievers'

Matt Payton
Tuesday 12 April 2016 12:36 BST
Sir Alan Duncan MP critcised for decrying 'low achievers who hate anyone with a hint of wealth'

A former Tory minister has sparked a furious backlash by appearing to say people who aren't rich are "low achievers".

Sir Alan Duncan, the Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, was defending David Cameron in the House of Commons after the Prime Minister addressed criticisms over whether he had benefitted from an offshore fund set up by his late father.

Sir Alan said: "Shouldn't the Prime Minister's critics really just snap out of the synthetic indignation and admit that their real point is that they hate anyone who has got a hint of wealth in them?

"May I support the Prime Minister in fending off those who are attacking him, particularly in thinking of this place, because if he doesn't, we risk seeing a House of Commons which is stuffed full of low-achievers who hate enterprise, hate people who look after their own family and know absolutely nothing about the outside world."

Mr Cameron replied: "I'm very grateful for your support. We have a system of members' interests, which was put in place at the end of 13 years of a Labour government.

"I think we should maintain that system. I don't want us to discourage people who have had a successful career in business or anything else in coming into this House and making a contribution, and that's why I've said I think for prime ministers and chancellors, shadow prime ministers and shadow chancellors it's a different set of arrangements."

Sir Alan's comments drew animmediate backlash.

The Labour MP and former government minister Caroline Flint said she was saddened that Sir Alan appeared to say "if you weren't a millionaire you were a low-achiever".

She added she was "speaking as a low achiever" as she asked a question on multinationals publishing country-by-country tax information.

Sir Alan later attempted to clarify his comments on Twitter: "Seems I could have been a little clearer in Parliament today. Success is of course not always the same as wealth

"My point was that we shouldn't discourage people who've done well in business from entering Parliament by sniping at wealth per se."

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