Wales politics

Labour manifesto leak: Not our document, says Welsh party

Carwyn Jones and Christina Rees
Image caption Carwyn Jones and shadow Welsh secretary Christina Rees arrive for a manifesto meeting in London

Welsh Labour has distanced itself from a leaked draft of the UK party's general election manifesto.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn said an "amended" version would be published "in the next few days" after a meeting on Thursday.

The draft document makes limited references to Wales, but praises Welsh Labour's record in government.

Carwyn Jones said the Welsh Labour manifesto would be "distinct in its purpose, bold in its ambition, and proudly Welsh Labour throughout".

The first minister, who attended the manifesto meeting, said it was "extremely positive and constructive, underlining to all present the strength of the offer that Labour will be putting before the people both in Wales and across the UK on June 8th".

Mr Jones said "strong bonds with our Labour colleagues" at a UK level had meant "Wales's voice has also been heard loud and clear in the UK manifesto".

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionNia Griffith says the Welsh manifesto was prepared in parallel with the UK one

Mr Jones launched Welsh Labour's general election campaign on Monday with a speech in Cardiff making no reference to Mr Corbyn.

Plaid Cymru said the leak showed some in Labour were more focused on damaging Mr Corbyn than on opposing the Conservatives.

The section in the draft manifesto under the heading Wales says: "We are proud of the achievements of the Welsh Labour Government and its record of delivery.

"In government we will work in partnership with the administration in Cardiff to stand up for the people of Wales, protect public services, and ensure a fair funding settlement."

On transport, the leaked document follows a series of pledges for England with the line: "We will invest in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, too, working with devolved administrations through the National Infrastructure Commission."

On devolution, it says: "Labour will establish a Constitutional Convention to take forward the debate about a new constitutional settlement for the entire UK, with England as much as a priority as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

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, building on the success of our five pledges for Wales."

He added: "One of the most important tenets of devolved politics, is the right for the Welsh Labour Government to make decisions, set priorities and spend money based on the needs of the people of Wales."

Analysis by BBC Wales political editor Nick Servini

Welsh Labour is keen to stress that the leaked document does not bear any resemblance to what will be in its final version.

In other words, the thin Welsh content in the draft manifesto will be beefed up.

In fact, I am told that not only will it be beefed up but the Welsh version of Labour's manifesto will be a completely different document in terms of "priorities, policies, tone and approach."

Opponents will question the basis for this when we are talking about a Westminster general election but there is no doubt that the final manifesto will be the clearest attempt yet to differentiate the party in Wales from the party in England.

'Weak and divided'

Responding for Plaid Cymru, Jonathan Edwards said: "In the face of a Tory landslide at UK level, that elements of Labour's High Command are more focused on damaging their leader by undermining their own manifesto than they are on opposing the Tories shows the chaos within the Labour Party.

"Many of the policies in the leaked manifesto are policies that the Labour Party has opposed and blocked in the Welsh Government. They say they want to scrap tuition fees but continue to charge £9,000 in Wales where they govern. They say they want to scrap zero hour contracts but have voted against doing so on seven separate occasions despite having the power to do so in Wales.

"The only thing we have learnt from this leak is that Labour is too weak and divided to stand up to the Tories and defend Wales. Wales needs a strong and united group of Plaid Cymru MPs to give the Tories the opposition this country desperately needs."

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.

"Jobs will be lost, families will be hit and our economic security damaged for a generation if Jeremy Corbyn and the coalition of chaos are ever let anywhere near the keys to Downing Street."

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