Labour 'manifesto leak' reveals Brexit plan

LONDON • Britain's opposition Labour Party will not walk away from Brexit talks without a deal if it wins next month's elections, according to a leaked draft manifesto published by several newspapers.

The 43-page document for the June 8 general election was due to have an official launch next week, but the version that emerged late on Wednesday outlines sweeping reforms, including re-nationalisation of railways and some tax rises.

Among the pledges, which are yet to be signed off, the party said it would guarantee a "meaningful vote" on the final Brexit agreement and ruled out leaving the European Union without a deal.

"Labour recognises that leaving the EU with 'no deal' is the worst possible deal for Britain and would do damage to our economy and trade. We will reject 'no deal' as a viable and negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a cliff-edge for the UK economy," the draft manifesto said, according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Labour is lagging behind in the polls, with strong suggestions that leader Jeremy Corbyn's lack of a clear line on Brexit is to blame.

Mr Corbyn on Tuesday refused five times to answer directly, when asked by the BBC if Britain would leave the EU if he was prime minister, although a party source later told Agence France-Presse there was no question Brexit would happen.

The draft manifesto also details Labour's view on immigration - a key factor in Britain's referendum last year on leaving the EU.

Labour pledges to make no "false promises" on cutting the number of migrants, in a nod to the Conservatives' unfulfilled promise to reduce arrivals to tens of thousands.

Other policies outlined in the draft include the scrapping of university tuition fees.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said the party would not comment on the leaked manifesto, which has to be approved by around 80 Labour figures before being formally published.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2017, with the headline 'Labour 'manifesto leak' reveals Brexit plan'. Print Edition | Subscribe