MP who may contest Barclay for re-drawn Wisbech and Downham Market seat brands Britain’s workers among ‘worst idlers in the world’

AN MP who may yet fight NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay for a re-drawn Wisbech seat has branded Britain’s workers as among “the worst idlers in the world”.

The claim is contained in a new book calling for tough reforms of employment laws.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss co-authored the book called Britannia Unchained - Global Growth and Prosperity, with four other Conservative MPs.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore wrote in the book: “Too many people in Britain, we argue, prefer a lie-in to hard work.

“Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world.

“We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor.”

The comments were met with derision from Labour MPs and trade unions, who described the comments as “ridiculous”.

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TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The problem with the UK economy is not its workers, but a severe lack of jobs.

“It’s not the UK work ethic which is holding the country back but a lack of demand in the economy - a situation that is being made considerably worse by government spending cuts.”

In excerpts of the book published in Friday’s Evening Standard, the MPs from the 2010 intake argue Britain needs to encourage “graft, risk and effort” to compete with developing countries.

They said: “Britain will never be as big as China and Brazil but we can look forward to a new generation, ready to get to work.”

(Under proposed boundary reforms NE Cambs constituency will disappear. Downham Market and Wisbech will form a new constituency and could be contested by either Ms Truss or Mr Barclay).