Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi was forced to admit that he “doesn’t know” whether Jeremy Corbyn wants to shoot the wealthy in a car crash interview with Andrew Neil last night.
Zahawi was responding to Boris Johnson’s assertion that the Labour leader shares Stalin’s “hatred” of wealth creators.
The PM said Corbyn has taken a stance that demonises billionaires with a “relish and a vindictiveness” not seen since Stalin’s attitude to landowners following the Russian revolution, something Zahawi agrees with.
“I think Boris has got a point,” the MP said on the Andrew Neil show. “If Jeremy Corbyn gets his way this country will become Britainzuela.”
Andrew Neil replied: “I’m not asking you about Venezuela I’m asking you if it is in any way a sensible comparison to compare Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude to business people and rich people to Stalin’s persecution of Kulak farmers?”
The Tory business minister said that Corbyn is obsessed with ‘tax-take’ and hitting businesses who are wealth creators.
The comparison is absurd, isn’t it?
Neil said: “That’s your line. But your leader compared him to Stalin. This is not about raising taxes or opposing people to take big cuts in income. Stalin deported two million Kulaks to Siberia and had hundreds of thousands of them shot.
“The comparison between that and Mr Corbyn is absurd, isn’t it?”
Zahawi said the comparison was not absurd, and said it is a ‘dangerous’ route to go down to criticise entrepreneurs.
Zahawi then shocked Andrew Neil by saying he “was not sure” whether Corbyn would want to shoot the wealthy, adding: “You’ll have to ask him that question.”
“This is getting absurd,” Neil said. “[Corbyn’s] not shooting people or starving them to death is he?”
.@afneil asks Nadhim Zahawi if Jeremy Corbyn really wants to have rich people ‘shot’?— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 6, 2019
"I don't know, you will have to ask him that question” replies the Conservative business minister #AndrewNeilShow https://t.co/1DP5uYLOKX pic.twitter.com/IS9c7EhxPu
An investigation by OpenDemocracy yesterday revealed that the Conservatives have received a huge surge in cash from Russian donors since Boris Johnson was elected leader.
The party received at least £498,850 from Russian business people and their associates between November 2018 and October 2019.
This was a significant increase on the previous year when they received donations amounting to less than £350,000.
Major donors in recent months include Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir served as a finance minister under Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2014 she paid £160,000 for a game of tennis with Johnson and former prime minister David Cameron, as well as a further £30,000 for dinner with the current Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
Other donors include Russian-born banker Lev Mikheev and energy tycoon Alexander Temerko.
Related: Former Labour MP Ian Austin stands down and urges people to vote Tory