Hostile Hammond misses the memo about not attacking Corbyn
The chancellor compared the Labour leader and shadow chancellor to dinosaurs from Jurassic Park.
As the Conservatives grapple with the crucial question of how to win back young voters, one senior MP has come up with a radical approach.
"I do think Momentum is quite a nasty movement. And I think there is an opportunity for Conservatives to be generous, to be positive and to be civic," said Number 10 policy chief George Freeman at a conference fringe event.
"We shouldn’t attack Jeremy Corbyn. He’s the only man who’s prepared to spend 45 years backing the wrong answer until the circumstances are so bad that he might look right. I respect that. He’s a man of principle. But he’s wrong. So we should respect his integrity and destroy the intellectual coherence of his argument."
Clearly the memo from the Number 10 man did not get through to Philip Hammond who used his keynote conference speech to launch a full-throttle personal attack on Labour's top two.
"The one or two remaining proponents of hard-left socialism in Parliament like Corbyn and McDonnell were for years treated almost as museum piece dinosaurs, worth preserving for the sake of historical curiosity" he jibed.
"But last week at Brighton the dinosaurs had broken out of their glass cases, their political DNA apparently uncontaminated by any contact with the reality of thirty years of global economic development ready to wreak havoc fighting the battles of the past using the language of the past, all over again, a sort of political version of Jurassic Park."
Unfortunately, Hammond did not leave himself time to set out any Tory solutions to the problems he had spent so long outlining.
"Such was the length and ferocity of Hammond's attack on Labour that it was easy to forget that he was running the Treasury," mused the New Statesman's George Eaton.
“It was only a half speech—long on negativity, short on positive answers,” declared the Spectator’s James Forsyth.
On Twitter, other hacks were even less impressed. The Observer’s Toby Helm said the chancellor’s speech was "flat as a pancake" while CapX editor Robert Colvile concluded: "If there was ever a Hammond for leader bandwagon, this speech has killed it."
Picture by: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images.