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Jeremy Corbyn hails Labour manifesto that gives ‘promise of a better Britain’

The manifesto is expected to be launched on Thursday.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking after a Labour clause V meeting (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking after a Labour clause V meeting (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Sam Blewett and Catherine Wylie, PA Political Correspondents

Jeremy Corbyn has hailed a manifesto that gives the “promise of a better Britain” after finalising the document in a meeting with senior Labour figures.

The Labour leader said he had secured the “unanimous agreement” of those including key union backers and his shadow cabinet after emerging from six hours of talks in central London on Saturday.

The manifesto – expected to be launched on Thursday – was being billed as “more radical” than the document campaigned on in the 2017 election.

“That manifesto is a transformative document that will change the lives of the people of this country for the better,” Mr Corbyn said from the steps of the Institute of Engineering and Technology after leaving the clause V meeting.

“It will be a once in a generation opportunity to vote for a more egalitarian society that cares for all.

“And I am very, very proud of the contents of it and I can’t wait to take those contents and its promise of a better Britain to everyone all around this country during our election campaign.”

Shadow cabinet members emerging from the meeting having signed off on the document at about 6pm were in a buoyant mood, saying they were excited to take the battle to the Tories.

Party chairman Ian Lavery told reporters the document for the December 12 General Election was “more radical” than the one last campaigned on – and packed with “outstandingly brilliant” policies.

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Ian Lavery (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament)

Tensions were expected particularly over the party’s stance on immigration, but Mr Lavery told Sky News that discussions were “very amicable” with “very little disagreement at all”.

However, the Mail on Sunday said it was told that the free movement issue was “fudged”, with the newspaper reporting that the plan is to state in the manifesto that freedom of movement for EU citizens would continue if the UK stayed in the bloc but is a “matter for the negotiations”.

The Mail on Sunday also reported that the manifesto is set to include a ban on working for more than 48 hours a week, a widespread nationalisation programme, the abolition of academies and free schools, an expansion of the sugar levy, and a new Cabinet Minister for women.

Jon Trickett said the discussions went “very well indeed”, adding that they were “ready to go to war as soon as possible”.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the meeting was “good”, while many others declined to share details ahead of the official launch.

Labour has already announced plans including free full-fibre broadband for all, a boost to NHS spending and a minimum wage hike to £10-an-hour.

With parts of BT to be taken into public ownership under the broadband plan, further nationalisation proposals are expected.

While freedom of movement would continue if the public voted to Remain in another EU referendum under a Labour government, the party will have now decided its immigration stance if the public again chose Brexit.

Mr Corbyn has previously committed to a “fair immigration process”.

He had arrived at the meeting accompanied by shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

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Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell arrives for a Labour clause V meeting (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union, arrived moments later and approached protesters chanting in support of free movement at the entrance.

Mr McCluskey shouted over them: “I’m going to support free movement and I support migrant workers.”

Full details of the manifesto are supposed to remain tightly-sealed until the formal unveiling on a date in future.

In a promise that will delight some and dismay others, Mr Corbyn has previously pledged to deliver “the most radical and exciting plan for real change the British public has even seen”.

Meanwhile, a Savanta ComRes poll for the Sunday Telegraph has the Conservatives on 41%, Labour on 33%, the Lib Dems on 14% and the Brexit Party on 5%.

The poll result is based on a survey of 2,052 British adults online from November 13-14.

Elsewhere, Lord Falconer has written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and Director of Public Prosecutions calling for a probe into claims the Tories offered peerages to senior Brexit Party figures in a bid to get them to stand aside.

Scotland Yard said it has received two allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice in relation to the 2019 General Election which are currently being assessed.

PA

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