Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee has attacked Sir Alan Duncan’s claims that people who are not rich are ‘low achievers’.
Former Tory minister Duncan, now the Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, was defending David Cameron in the House of Commons over the furore caused by his benefitting from an offshore fund set up by his late father.
Duncan said: “Shouldn't the Prime Minister's critics really just snap out of the synthetic indignation and admit their real point is they hate anyone who has got a hint of wealth in them?
"May I support the Prime Minister in fending off those who are attacking him, particularly in thinking of this place, because if he doesn't, we risk seeing a House of Commons which is stuffed full of low achievers who hate enterprise, hate people who look after their own family and know absolutely nothing about the outside world."
But Toynbee hit back vigorously when discussing Duncan’s comments with Sam Delaney.
“Alan Duncan speaks for his party,” she said. “Low achievers is what they think of everyone who doesn’t have money.
“But low-achievers isn’t the story. People are working incredibly hard to do the jobs we absolutely need doing. Unemployment is quite low at the moment, but [many] people who have got jobs are not earning very much and they’re doing things society depends on.
“Are they low achievers? People who are careers? People who are teaching assistants? People who are cleaning the streets? Low achievers? I don’t think that’s any way for a democratically elected politician to talk about people.
“The majority of households in this country still haven’t got back to the standards they had in 2007. The division between people at the top and people in the middle has got much, much wider. And it’s getting more unequal. And the blowback is because of that.”