The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

Chief Secretary (1987-1989)

Mr Major’s Comments on Labour’s Economic Policies – 27 May 1989

Below is the text of the press release, 695/89, issued by Conservative Central Office on 27 May 1989. It contains the text of a message sent by Mr Major to the Huntingdon Conservative Association.


Ask Mr Kinnock a serious question about his economic policies and you do not get an answer, you get an explosion.

After two years of careful coaching, he still cannot tell us how he would control inflation. He does not believe that interest rates are the answer. He prefers credit controls. But he cannot explain how he would make them work. And his own Shadow Chancellor has as good as admitted that they would not.

So how would he control inflation?

He claims to be a born-again European. But his policies would bring him into direct conflict with the Community. He knows that people would dodge his credit controls by borrowing from foreign banks. So he would need exchange controls to back them up. But exchange controls are illegal throughout the European Community from next year.

So how does he reconcile his commitment to Europe with his interventionist economic policy?

He seems to want to take direct action against imports, perhaps through deposits, perhaps by controls. But unfortunately he went off the air before he could finalise his answer. No doubt he will tell us.

After two years of reviewing his economic policies, you might expect him to have produced a properly costed programme. But not a bit of it.

He does not say how much his extravagant spending pledges would cost.

And he is no more willing to tell us how many families would pay more under Labour’s plans for higher rates of income tax. Tax payers are entitled to an account of what their tax rates would be under a Labour Government. When will they be told?

One question repeated four times by Mr Naughtie produced a memorable explosion. What will four questions produce, I wonder?