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1964: Labour voters are 'bonkers' says Hogg
A senior Conservative minister has stolen the show at the Conservative news conference by branding all Labour voters "bonkers".

Quintin Hogg, Lord President of the Council and Secretary for Education and Science, made his quip after mounting a stinging attack on Labour's policies.

"As I see the question," he told journalists gathered at Conservative Central office in London, "it is quite plainly between sanity on our side and madness on the other side."

The news conference was also attended by two other senior Tories - Viscount Blakenham, chairman of the party, and Reginald Maudling, Chancellor of the Exchequer - but neither had very much to say.

If the British public falls for this...it will be stark, staring bonkers
Quintin Hogg
Mr Hogg, who gave up his peerage to run for the Conservative Party leadership last year, began by attacking Labour's defence policy: "What is their defence policy? To drop our most powerful weapon altogether. Their foreign policy? To opt out of the conference table at the highest level.

"Their policy on finance? To stop inflation by spending another 1,000 million a year."

He continued criticising their plans for modernisation of the railways, education and industry.

He went on: "If the British public falls for this, I say it will be stark, staring bonkers, and that is all I have got to say."

His remarks produced some guffaws from journalists - one of whom proceeded to ask whether he thought the editor of The Economist was bonkers for backing Labour. He replied: "I have not examined him lately."

Another journalist asked if he really thought all 13 million people who voted Labour at the last election were bonkers?

He replied that it was not yet clear how many would back Labour this time. "After what I have said, perhaps none will," he said.

When asked how he would describe the Liberals and Mr Hogg replied "insignificant and meaningless".

Whereas, he added, Conservatives were "sound, sensible, progressive, wise, well-balanced citizens".

Mr Hogg has already developed a reputation as an eccentric - and outspoken politician.

In 1957 when he was party chairman, he tried to rouse the party faithful by ringing a handbell from the platform of the party conference to celebrate victory in Suez.

Last summer he led the British delegation to Moscow to sign the nuclear test-ban treaty, and took an unfashionable stand on the Profumo scandal, denouncing it as a moral and not a party political issue.

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Quintin Hogg
Quintin Hogg ran for the Conservative Party leadership last year



In Context
The opinion polls were showing the election result as wide open - although Labour leader Harold Wilson appeared to have the greater appeal to voters who liked his easy-going style in front of the TV cameras, compared with Alex Douglas-Home's far more formal appearance.

In the end, Labour's national plan and an offer of increased workers' rights and union representation won the election. They took 317 seats to the Conservatives' 304. The Liberals won nine - giving Labour a majority of just five seats.

Quintin Hogg, who became Lord Hailsham when the Tories came to power in 1970, followed in his father's footsteps to become Lord Chancellor sitting on the woolsack in the House of Lords. He became the longest-serving Lord Chancellor of the 20th century.

Harold Macmillan's decision to stand down as Prime Minister in 1963 coincided with a new law allowing people to give up their peerages. Macmillan apparently confided in Hogg that he wanted him to become the party's next leader.

But it was not to be. In the end it is thought his rather ebullient and eccentric manner may have put off Conservatives who voted instead for Alec Douglas- Home.

He died in October 2001, aged 94.

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