Jeremy Corbyn suffered a succession of hammer blows on the first day of his election campaign.
As his deputy Tom Watson shocked Westminster by quitting politics, critics claimed Labour’s pro-union laws would cost the country £9.5billion a year in lost productivity, and the party’s anti-wealth policies would lead to an exodus of the richest people.
Mr Corbyn was also criticised after it emerged he shared a platform with a wife campaigning for her jailed IRA husband to be released, and diplomats said they feared a Labour government would risk national security because our allies would be reluctant to share information with a PM they didn’t trust.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) suffered a succession of hammer blows on the first day of his election campaign yesterday
It came as Sajid Javid branded Mr Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell the ‘anti-vaxxers of economic policy’ as he warns Labour would ‘make this country sick again’.
The Chancellor will use a speech in Manchester to savage Labour’s ‘fantasy’ approach.
Horror Show 1: Strikes could cost 40m working days
Jeremy Corbyn alongside Unite union General Secretary Len McCluskey as they joined steel workers oni a march in 2016
Labour’s plans to boost trade union power could see tens of millions of days lost to strikes every year, it was claimed yesterday.
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to repeal anti-union laws and restore collective bargaining, a policy that once led to widespread industrial strife.
Analysis by the Tories claims that if industrial action returns to pre-Thatcher levels, almost 40 million days would be lost to strikes in a year.
The party said Labour’s policy of ‘putting trade union barons’ in charge could cost the economy £9.5 billion. It comes as two of Mr Corbyn’s union backers, the rail workers’ RMT and the postal workers’ CWU, unveiled plans for strikes before Christmas.
Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘This is just a taste of things to come if Jeremy Corbyn is elected PM. His plans to roll back the clock and make it easier for his union chums to go on strike could lead to a huge amount of disruption.
This comes on top of his plan to hold another two referendums in 2020. ‘A vote for Jeremy Corbyn would not just ruin Christmas – it would lead to years of disruption and delays for families. We simply can’t afford the cost of Corbyn.’
Labour MP Laura Pidcock said: ‘This is a pathetic, baseless attempt to distract from the Tories’ disastrous record on workers’ rights and pay.’
Daniel Martin Policy Editor
But he will warn that Britain needs to take the economic threat of Labour deadly seriously, saying: ‘It’s easy to poke fun at Comrade Corbyn and his fantasy economics.
‘But this is a close election and I am taking nothing for granted.’
In Liverpool, Mr McDonnell will set out his latest eye-watering proposals including a new £150 billion spending spree and a plan to relocate large parts of the Treasury from London to the North of England.
Mr Javid was blocked from publishing an official Treasury analysis of Labour’s spendthrift plans this week after Mr McDonnell lodged a complaint with Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.
But sources said Treasury officials had calculated that Labour’s plans would cost the country ‘hundreds of billions of pounds’.
The Chancellor will today warn that Labour would take Britain back to an economic dark age.
Likening the party’s leaders to dangerous crank doctors, he will say: ‘Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are like the anti-vaxxers of economic policy.
‘Not only did they reject the treatment needed to heal our economy and get the deficit down by four-fifths, they now want to take every step imaginable to make the country sick and unhealthy again.
‘There are serious consequences to these fantasy economics.’
Mr Javid is expected to set out a new set of ‘fiscal rules’ ensuring that Tory spending plans would be handled in a ‘responsible’ way.
Sources said the rules would ensure that spending and borrowing are kept ‘under control’.
The Chancellor will warn today that Labour’s plans would bankrupt Britain, saying: ‘After a decade of recovery, of difficult decisions, we can’t let Labour turn back the clock, let spending get out of control and make hardworking families pay the price. We won’t let Labour off the hook like last time.
‘Look to the lessons of history – they’ll ruin our finances, raise your taxes and saddle the next generation with debt.
‘Every single Labour government has left our country’s economy in a mess.’
Ministers believe the Tories’ determination to maintain economic prudence will create ‘clear blue water’ with Labour.
Addressing a rally in Birmingham last night, Boris Johnson claimed Labour was planning ‘a huge list of tax rises’.
The PM added: ‘The Labour Party always runs out of other people’s money.
‘That is what happens and it will happen again.’
Horror Show 2: Wealth creators ‘will flee country’
An exodus of wealth creators will follow the election of a Labour government, an adviser to the rich warned yesterday.
Boris Johnson launched his election campaign by accusing Jeremy Corbyn of demonising billionaires in a similar vein to Soviet leader Stalin.
The comments struck a chord with the founder of a major international financial advice firm, which manages more than £9billion for wealthy clients.
Nigel Green said Mr Corbyn was determined to soak the rich and said his firm’s clients are ‘worried about the damaging impact of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government on their finances’.
The 60-year-old Briton said many fear Mr Corbyn will raise inheritance tax, income tax, stamp duty and capital gains taxes on investments. There are also fears he will cut tax relief on pensions and even impose capital controls to prevent the wealthy from taking their money out of the country.
Mr Green said: ‘We can realistically expect a Corbyn government would trigger an exodus of the country’s most successful and wealthiest individuals.
‘Should these largely job and wealth-creating individuals emigrate government finances will suffer because they contribute a disproportionately large amount to the state’s coffers.’
Yesterday Mr Corbyn told a rally in Telford, Shropshire: ‘Billionaires have obviously got a great deal of money and therefore they’re in a very strong position to pay a lot more tax.’
James Salmon Associate City Editor
Horror Show 3: National security at risk, say ex-Labour ministers
Spies and diplomats fear national security will be put at risk if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister, it has been claimed.
Countries in the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance, which includes the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, would be less likely to share information, sources said.
Senior Whitehall sources told The Times that the flow of information Britain receives would dry up because of a lack of trust in the Labour leader.
Former foreign secretary Jack Straw said other countries could ‘lessen intelligence co-operation with us’.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’ve got no idea where he [Jack Straw] is going with this.
‘I’ve met with the security services who would be part of my remit and they know democracy depends on supporting the government of the day.’ One former permanent secretary with close links to the intelligence services said: ‘It would have a chilling effect. That would put us at greater risk.
‘The Americans would be very wary indeed about having the same broad confidence in intelligence sharing.’
Former defence secretary Lord Hutton of Furness said a Corbyn premiership would ‘place a major question mark over the continued operation of a vital source of intelligence’. It would make the country ‘less safe’, he added.
Labour peer Lord West of Spithead, a former First Sea Lord, attacked Mr Corbyn for saying he would not use the Trident nuclear capabilities if the country were under attack. He said: ‘He doesn’t understand deterrence.’
Defence and Security Editor
Horror Show 4: The leader and wife-beating IRA terrorist
Paul Norney (pictured alongside his Breige Brownlee) was jailed for life
There were fresh questions for Jeremy Corbyn yesterday as it emerged he shared a platform with a wife campaigning for her jailed IRA husband to be released.
The Labour leader, then a backbench MP, allegedly gave a speech at a meeting in 1995 which she arranged in his Islington constituency where the case of Paul Norney was raised.
Mr Corbyn was the ‘only public figure they could persuade to share the platform’, said a newspaper article at the time.
Norney was given a life sentence in 1976 for the attempted murder of a police officer in Manchester when he was 17 and was still in prison at the time.
His wife Breige Brownlee, a former IRA volunteer, was jailed for eight years in 1977 for carrying a bomb.
Mr Justice Cantely, the judge at the trial where Norney and four other men were convicted, described them as ‘dedicated and utterly callous terrorists’.
At the time of his arrest, Norney was on the run charged with the murder of two British soldiers in Belfast, for which he never stood trial.
It was reported that Mr Corbyn gave a ‘tedious’ speech at the 1995 event at a library organised by Brownlee. Then 35, she was interviewed by The Independent in June that year about her fight for her husband’s release.
The mother-of-three had been preparing to travel to England to visit Norney, one of Britain’s longest-serving republican prisoners. The newspaper article read: ‘Last Thursday, she handed in a petition at Downing Street. Half-an-hour later, John Major resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.
‘That evening, she spoke at a meeting in Islington library attended by a half-empty room of the faithful.
‘Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington, is the only public figure they could persuade to share the platform. He gives a tedious and misinformed speech.
‘It is difficult to see what her efforts are achieving. The plight of Irish prisoners is not big news here.
‘Yet the issue of political prisoners is one of the main impediments to lasting peace in Northern Ireland.’ Norney was freed in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
But in 2013 when aged 55, he was sentenced to 20 months inside after assaulting his wife in a drunken rage on Christmas Day.
In 2015, Mr Corbyn declined when asked five times to condemn IRA violence unequivocally during a BBC radio interview.
In 1984, as a new MP, he sparked outrage by inviting Republicans to the House of Commons days after the Brighton bomb.
Mr Corbyn also observed a minute’s silence in 1987 for eight IRA members killed by the SAS in an ambush in Gibraltar.
Tory Party chairman James Cleverly said: ‘The first duty of the Prime Minister is to defend our country. People will fail to understand how someone who wants to lead our country has regularly campaigned against the very people who have chosen to put themselves in harm’s way to keep their country safe.’
A Labour Party spokesman said: ‘Jeremy was never a supporter of the IRA and has always worked for peace and respect for human rights.
‘As Prime Minister, he will do everything necessary to keep our people safe.’
Larisa Brown Defence and Security Editor