General election 2017: Labour manifesto draft leaked

Media caption,
Campaigns chief Andrew Gwynne: "At least people are talking about our policies"

A draft of Labour's general election manifesto has been leaked, including plans to nationalise parts of the energy industry and scrap tuition fees.

The BBC has seen a copy of the document due to be signed off on Thursday.

It contains policies on nationalising railways and renewing the Trident weapons system and suggests Labour will not leave the EU without a deal.

The shadow chancellor said the leak was "disappointing" but the Tories called it "a shambles".

Leaving a meeting where about 80 Labour figures were agreeing the final manifesto, shadow minister Jon Trickett told reporters "an exciting document is emerging" which would "speak to the whole country".

According to the draft, Labour would:

  • Spend an extra £8bn on social care over the next Parliament
  • Refuse to make "false promises" on immigration
  • Stress that any leader should be "extremely cautious" about using Trident nuclear weapons, which leader Jeremy Corbyn opposes
  • Strengthen trade union rights - including increased unionisation across the workforce and repealing last year's Trade Union Act
  • Scrap the public sector pay cap and reintroduce national pay bargaining
  • Ban so-called "zero hours" contracts
  • Increase income tax for the highest-earning 5% to raise an extra £6bn for the NHS
  • Build at least 100,000 council and housing association houses a year
  • Reserve 4,000 homes for rough sleepers

On energy, Labour would have at least one publicly-owned supplier in every region of the country, with the government controlling the transmission and distribution grids.

First it would introduce an "immediate emergency price cap" of £1,000 a year.

The draft manifesto also promises to ban fracking and cut the voting age to 16.

The document restates the existing policy to renew Trident but commits a Labour government to a defence review which would allow opponents to question the position on the nuclear weapons system.

It also says Labour would "negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a cliff-edge for the UK economy" if no Brexit deal was reached during talks with the EU.

It is still in the process of being approved by around 80 Labour figures, including the shadow cabinet and the party's National Executive Committee.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he did not know who was behind the leak, which he called "disappointing".

'Progressive proposals'

He said that the final manifesto was still to be signed off and insisted: "Every policy will have a costing and a funding source identified."

Mr McDonnell added that a policy of rail nationalisation when train operators' franchises run out "has been Labour Party policy for a number of years" and the document's proposals on energy are "what a lot of modern European states have done over the last five years".

He rejected comparisons with Labour's radical 1983 election manifesto, saying Labour had "an extremely modern, progressive set of proposals".

The final version will form the foundation of Labour's pitch to voters on the 8 June general election.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour's national campaigns co-ordinator, told BBC Breakfast he was taking a positive view about the leak given their policies were being talking about a week ahead of the manifesto launch.

Analysis by BBC political correspondent Iain Watson

Image source, Getty Images

The draft document is seen by some senior Labour figures as the most left-wing manifesto since the party was led by Michael Foot in 1983.

It certainly appears to be the most detailed in a generation with a 20-point plan for workers' rights alone.

Many individual policies are likely to be popular - not every privatisation is seen as having been a success and polling suggests the commitments to renationalise the railways and cap energy prices are not as controversial as critics would claim.

But opponents and sceptical voters will await further detail behind the assertion that everything has been costed.

Privately, many Labour MPs believe Jeremy Corbyn will get the manifesto he wants but in return he must take full responsibility if voters find it less appealing than he does.

Many of the policies have been previously announced by Labour or were proposed by Mr Corbyn during his successful leadership campaign.

These include banning fracking, and the draft manifesto also says nuclear power would continue to be supported.

On welfare, Labour says it would scrap benefit sanctions and the so-called "bedroom tax" and restore housing benefit for people aged under 21.

The triple lock protecting the state pension would be maintained, and the retirement age would not increase beyond 66.

Media caption,
The Daily Mirror's Jack Blanchard says the manifesto is full of 'popular policies'

The draft was initially leaked to the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph.

A Conservative spokesman said: "This is a total shambles. Jeremy Corbyn's plans to unleash chaos on Britain have been revealed.

"The commitments in this dossier will rack up tens of billions of extra borrowing for our families and will put Brexit negotiations at risk."

In other general election news, the Conservatives are pledging to continue meeting the Nato target of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was also extending by two years a pledge to increase the defence budget by at least 0.5% above inflation annually.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
BBC cameraman Giles Wooltorton was taken to hospital after his foot was hurt in an incident involving the car carrying Jeremy Corbyn to Thursday's manifesto meeting

Labour is also promising to meet the 2% Nato pledge.

The SNP's Tommy Sheppard said: "The very fact that this draft manifesto has been leaked shows how divided and chaotic the Labour Party are - most of their MPs do not even support these policies."

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was unable to attend Thursday's meeting on Labour's manifesto as it clashed with First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament.

Meanwhile, a Welsh Labour spokesman said: "Reports of leaked manifestos relate to an old, draft version of a UK document.

"It is not Welsh Labour's manifesto and contains many England-only proposals. Welsh Labour will be publishing its own distinct manifesto."