Left Watch

« Unite leader Len McCluskey declares war on the Coalition | Main | Ed Miliband heckled at TUC congress »

Former City investor Chris Huhne warns Conservatives against "helping their friends in the City"

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

HUHNE BBC INTERVIEWWe made mention of this story concerning the top rate of tax on today's front page, but it's worthy of closer inspection. The Independent reports:

In an interview with Prospect Magazine ahead of the Liberal Democrat conference, Mr Huhne used George Osborne's own mantra that "we are all in this together" to urge the Chancellor to keep the rate.

"If the cut in the top rate of tax is just a way of helping the Conservatives' friends in the City to put their feet up, then forget it," he said. "They are simply not going to get the votes in the House of Commons."

Mr Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is a good communicator - a good politician. He knows that his mention of "friends in the City" will convince some segments of his Liberal Democrat base that the Coalition is, economically speaking, a battle between rich Tory bankers, and honest-to-goodness Lib Dem champions of the people. However, a little look into Mr Huhne's previous career reveals Conservatives are not the only ones with "friends in the City". Mr Huhne was interviewed by the Independent in early 2008. Some highlights:

"The father of five, whose wife, Vicky Pryce, is an economist, made a lot of money on the right investments in the City in the 1990s and 10 years ago rated Beijing for the bond markets. Famously, he has a considerable property portfolio – earning him the nickname, during the 2006 leadership contest, of "Nine Homes Huhne". When I ask about the nine houses, for the first time in the interview he cuts me off, sounding impatient. "I don't, I have investments, actually – and not nine, it's seven. I have investments in five homes for rent, which is basically my pension fund from my time in the City""


"There are stresses and strains, but I don't claim that I'm in other than a very happy position compared with most people, because, having spent a bit of time in the City before I was elected"