“When did you last hear a Tory leader talk about capitalism?”

Boris Johnson, Tory conference speech

October 1, 2019

Claim

Johnson said that the Conservative Party would solve the social care crisis “by creating the economic platform for dynamic, free market capitalism.” He added: “Yes, you heard it right, capitalism — and when did you last hear a Tory leader talk about capitalism?”

Facts

Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May called capitalism the “greatest agent of collective human progress ever created” in a 2017 speech to a Bank of England conference. Five years earlier, May’s predecessor David Cameron set out a vision for a “socially responsible and genuinely popular capitalism.” He called the market and free enterprise “the best imaginable force for improving human wealth and happiness.”

Verdict

Those listening to Johnson’s conference speech would have concluded that the prime minister was suggesting that his predecessors as Tory leader did not talk about or celebrate capitalism. The prime minister’s comment was not only misleading but also insulting to his predecessors.

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