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Corbyn as PM would drive business into island – lord

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A CORBYN government would spark an exodus of talent and money from the UK more devastating for the country than Brexit – although Guernsey could benefit.

Lord Digby Jones, a former UK trade minister, has bought a house in Guernsey. (Picture by Peter Frankland)

Former UK trade minister Lord Digby Jones issued the stark assessment, saying that business was more worried about a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell than

Brexit.

Revealing he would permanently move to Guernsey if they gained power, Lord Jones predicted that the UK’s brightest and best would also leave – with the island being among the potential destinations. Local estate agents were also seeing a rise in interest off the back of worries about a left-wing Labour government, he said.

‘Every time McDonnell opens his mouth, they get another load of phone calls. Now that’s Guernsey. You think what’s happening in Jersey. Think what’s happening in the Isle of Man. Think what’s happening in Ireland. Think what’s happening in Portugal – places where it’s not just tax, remember.

‘It is places where a Brit feels welcome and will bring their talent and their capital,’ said Lord Jones, a former director-general of the British Confederation of Industry.

‘My biggest worry for the country from a Corbyn government is the exit of talent and capital. I’m 63 years old, it’s not me. It’s a 30-year-old who thinks: “I’m off and I’ll take my capital, my risk, my energy, my sense of innovation, my hard work, my talent and I’ll go and do it somewhere else because these boys hate business”.’

Lord Jones, 63, said that he and his wife were currently planning to spend half the year in Guernsey, where they have recently bought a home, and the other half in the UK having been regular visitors to the island for 25 years.

Praising the island’s society, he said that he got to know Guernsey well through clients as a lawyer and friends and as a founding patron of the Community Foundation. Describing his move as an ‘adventure,’ Lord Jones stressed it was not about tax.

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‘I’m certainly not somebody who doesn’t want to pay his fair share for an infrastructure, and a police force, and health care and education and to help those who can’t get to a place in society where they can. I would happily pay some more tax actually, it’s not that.’

The couple will make the move to Guernsey permanent if Mr Corbyn takes power. ‘The plan would be we would spend our lives, split personalities really, between the UK and here. That hopefully will go on for many, many years.

‘But if Corbyn and McDonnell and his happy business hating crew got into power, then if Guernsey will have us, it will be full time.’

The Conservative Party also had to ‘stop obsessing about Brexit and start worrying about the real business problem which is a Corbyn government,’ said Lord Jones, who has never joined any political party.

‘The business community are far more worried about a business-hating government than ever they are Brexit.’

Britain would be ‘fine’ when it came to Brexit in the end, but Lord Jones pointed to an impoverished South American country led by a left-wing grouping: ‘You put Corbyn in Britain and it will be Venezuela overnight.’

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