‘I wish I was fighting this lot’, ex-Labour leader Lord Kinnock says as he brands current Tory party 'superficial'

24 June 2024, 21:25 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 00:10

Lord Kinnock has said he would not wish being part of the current Tory government on his 'most bloodthirsty enemies'.
Lord Kinnock has said he would not wish being part of the current Tory government on his 'most bloodthirsty enemies'. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Jenny Medlicott

Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock has told LBC that he 'wishes he was fighting' this Conservative government as they are 'superficial and hollow'.

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Speaking to LBC's Iain Dale, Lord Kinnock said the Conservative party he fought against was full of “smart guys, fundamentally decent people and patriots” but that “that’s all changed” now.

Lord Kinnock said: “Oh I wish I’d been fighting this lot. No John Major, no Heseltine, no Geoffrey Howe. I mean the thing is, even though they were obviously my opponents and so on– smart guys, fundamentally decent people and patriots.

"That’s all changed, and the Conservatives I know and respect, they don’t have to be my friends, but they are people that I know and respect, are despairing at the– can you be superficial and hollow at the same time? Yeah. I know they are, and I wouldn’t swap places with them. And I actually wouldn’t wish that on my most bloodthirsty enemies.”

Voters are set to go to the polls on July 4 after Rishi Sunak called a snap general election last month.

Lord Kinnock’s comments come as the Conservative party faces an election gambling scandal, as several people linked to the party have been accused of placing bets on the date of the election.

On Monday, Mr Sunak said that he is not being investigated as part of the gambling probe into the party.

He said: “The Gambling Commission is independent of Government – it's independent of me.

Read more: Sunak says he's not being investigated in Tory betting scandal and is 'unaware of other candidates being looked at'

Read more: General Election LIVE: Cleverly tells LBC Sunak is 'right' not to suspend Conservatives involved in betting scandal

Lord Kinnock: 'I wish I was fighting this lot'

"I don't have the details of their investigation, right? They don't report to me, I don't have the details, but what I can tell you is, in parallel we've been conducting our own internal inquiries and of course will act on any relevant findings or information from that and pass it on to the Gambling Commission."

It comes after it emerged that the commission had widened its investigation to include those associated with senior Tories linked to alleged bets placed on the date of the election.

Tory candidate, Craig Williams, admitted to having "a flutter", placing a £100 bet on a July election.

Others accused of insider betting include Nick Mason, the Conservative Party's chief data officer, who denies any wrongdoing. It also includes Tony Lee, the Conservative Director of Campaigns, and his wife and Conservative candidate Laura Saunders.

Labour said that Mr Sunak had shown an "astonishing lack of leadership" by failing to suspend Conservatives under investigation.

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