The FT backs the Tories

By staff

The Financial Times is backing the Tories, after supporting Labour in the last four general elections.

The paper said there were problems with the Conservative party but that it had “sound instinct”.

“The problems facing the UK are daunting – more so than any the country has faced since the 1970s,” the leader column reads.

“They [the Conservatives] are not a perfect fit, but their instincts are sound. Their fiscal plans while vague, suggest they would do most to reduce the size of the state – cutting more and taxing less than their opponents.

“Britain needs a stable and legitimate government to navigate its fiscal crisis and punch its weight abroad. On balance the Conservative party best fits the bill.”

The FT’s circulation is just 400,000 but its loyal readership treat it with a reverence most other newspaper struggle to achieve. Hugely popular among businessmen in America, the newspaper has global reach.

It gave Mr Brown a sympathetic hearing, but evidently decided it was time for change.

“As a crisis manager, Gordon Brown has been a better premier than his critics claim. But after 13 years, Labour needs a spell in opposition to rejuvenate itself,” it said.

The Lib Dem surge did not appear to impress the newspaper, which backed Nick Clegg’s policies on civil liberties and political reform but remained wary of his economic policies.

“It is on the economy that doubts creep in,” it said. “Their policy is an uneasy mix of sanctimony and populism.”

So far most newspapers have expressed political support along traditional lines, although the Guardian and Observer broke with their Labour-supporting past to back the Liberal Democrats.