David Cameron’s ‘Hampstead socialist’ jibe was ‘unfair’, say Tories

PUBLISHED: 11:55 01 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:12 01 April 2015

David Cameron. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin.

David Cameron. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Conservatives in Hampstead have spoken out to defend residents after Prime Minister David Cameron attacked Labour leader Ed Miliband for personifying the “we-know-best attitude of the Hampstead socialist”.

Michael Foot. Picture: PA Archive.Michael Foot. Picture: PA Archive.

The prime minister made the comments during a speech to delegates at the Conservative Party spring forum in Manchester on Saturday, lambasting Mr Miliband for the “same old condescending, bossy, interfering, we-know-best attitude of the Hampstead socialist down the ages”.

His scathing comments have raised eyebrows among Tories in Hampstead and Kilburn, which has been singled out as the party’s number one target seat in next month’s general election.

Oliver Cooper, who is standing for the Tories in Hampstead Town at a by-election on May 7, said the “Hampstead socialist” tag – which can be traced back to the heyday of prominent Hampstead socialists such as Michael Foot – was “unfair and outdated”.

“I agree with the prime minister that it is the attitude of the Labour leadership,” he said. “But I disagree with that being the attitude of the Hampstead people.

“There is a stereotype and it is unfair and outdated. Hampstead is not the stereotype that you might read in Private Eye and I’d like anyone with that view to come to Hampstead to see for themselves.”

Hampstead councillor Tom Currie said Mr Cameron had chosen an “unfortunate phrase that shouldn’t have been used”.

He added: “Ed Miliband lives in Highgate so I wouldn’t tar the people of Hampstead with the same brush as him.

“It’s unfortunate but it seems to have entered the general lexicon that Hampstead is associated with champagne socialism but it’s not the reality in modern day Hampstead.”

Hampstead actor Tom Conti, a staunch Tory, said Mr Cameron’s comments were a direct result of the “champagne socialism label that Hampstead has enjoyed” but said it was “not applicable to Hampstead anymore”.

“It was because a lot of people in the artistic community lived in Hampstead and they all tended to be left-leaning,” said Mr Conti.

“Socialism is a religion, I was part of it for decades. But I realised that things never get better and they can’t really help the people that are worse off because that’s their fan base and if more lives improve then they lose their fan base.”

Simon Marcus, Tory parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, said: “Some of my best friends are Hampstead socialists but I think it’s fair to say that if you live in a £10million house and call yourself a socialist, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

“I don’t think the prime minister was labelling everybody in Hampstead. I think he was passing a view that he’s entitled to.”

See David Cameron’s comments about “Hampstead socialists” in the video above from 11 minutes onwards.

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