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Davidson warns Tories not to ‘dismiss’ Corbyn as ‘just an old Marxist’

RUTH DAVIDSON has warned her fellow Tories not to “dismiss” Jeremy Corbyn on the grounds that he is “just an old Marxist.”

The Scottish Conservative leader spoke out against such “identity politics” after numerous party colleagues, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, used the description in an attempt to discredit the Labour leader.

Last month, Mr Johnson described Mr Corbyn as “the leader of a cabal of superannuated Marxists.”

But speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival yesterday evening, Ms Davidson said: “We have to get past the identity politics.

“And we’re so guilty at the moment of people dismissing the speaker rather than challenging the idea.

“So if it’s education policy: ‘Oh well, don’t listen to them, they’re a Tory;’ or: ‘Don’t listen to them because they’re a nationalist’ or whatever it is. You know: ‘Corbyn’s got an idea.’ ‘Well he’s just an old Marxist, so blah, blah, blah.’

“There’s so much of that that goes on in internet pile-ons and social media, etc, that I think you, as electors and voters and all the rest of it, will come to a point where you actually just demand better of your politicians, because they’re not serving you well.”

Top Tories who have trotted out the description in an effort to dismiss Mr Corbyn’s ideas include Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who said in April: “I profoundly disagree with Jeremy Corbyn on the economy.

“He is a Marxist and he would do profound damage to people’s livelihoods.”

But in the same month, Tory MP Robert Halfon hit out at this line of attack. “The term doesn’t resonate with the public — certainly not with the younger generation,” he wrote in a blog for the Conservative Home website.

A recent Ipsos Mori poll found that 49 per cent of Britons believe “socialist ideas are of great value.”

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