Former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard has dismissed John Redwood, chair of the party’s official Economic Competitiveness Policy Group, as not reflecting the mainstream views of the party in a radio appearance.
The criticism came on the BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster at the weekend when former Labour minister Patricia Hewitt raised the question of the Conservative policy review, chaired by John Redwood, that called for deregulation of the mortgage market:
Patricia Hewitt: John Redwood and this economic policy commission has only, what, in the last month or two said, ‘Let’s deregulate the mortgage market’.
Michael Howard: And there are people in your party who still believe in full-blooded nationalisation. So of course there are people in all three of our parties who don’t reflect the mainstream view of the party.
The review was in fact published last year, saying:
Mortgage Regulation: We see no need to continue to regulate the provision of mortgage finance, as it is the lending institutions rather than the client taking the risk.
Given the number of occasions taxpayers in the UK and other countries have since had to bail out institutions laid low by their mortgage policies, it’s perhaps no surprise that some Conservatives want to distance themselves from the views of John Redwood and their own party’s policy commission. But the policy review was set up by David Cameron, and George Osborne gave advice on the writing and presentation of the report.