A CONSERVATIVE cabinet minister defended the Prime Minister calling working class men ‘drunk, criminal and feckless’ on a visit to Barrow.

James Cleverly, the chairman of the Conservative party, had visited the town to pledge that his party would boost the town centre and help it benefit from millions of pounds of funding.

But when asked about Boris Johnson’s recently resurfaced comments, he said people should look at the Conservatives’ record in helping the working class.

Barrow and Furness Labour Party general election candidate Chris Altree said Mr Cleverly’s remarks were insulting to working class people who had ‘borne the brunt of nine years of Conservative austerity’.

Speaking at the newly-opened Holiday Inn Express, Mr Cleverly said: “People can pick out of context quotes to try and attack the Prime Minster but if you look at the record he has as a person and the Conservatives have as a party, we are the ones who are looking after working class people.

“We’ve increased the income tax threshold, we’ve committed to investment in technical education and we are going to increase the threshold for National Insurance.” Responding to his words, Mr Altree said: “I could take Mr Cleverly to some parts of Barrow and show him what his Conservative government’s policies have done to our families.

“For him to say the Tories have helped ordinary people is both risible and insulting.

“Our foodbanks are at breaking point – and the brilliant volunteers who staff them are helping hundreds of our neighbours who are in work – not just those who are unemployed.”

Mr Cleverly said Furness was a ‘really beautiful part of the country’ and the Heritage High Street Action Zones fund and Towns' Fund would pump in millions to showcase and improve the high street and transport links.

But Mr Altree said ‘remorseless austerity’ had damaged the high street.

“Only the Labour Party will provide the real investment that is needed in our communities,” he said.