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"Our manifesto will be an offer, and I believe the policies in it are very popular, an offer that will transform the lives of many people in our society," Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Thursday. (Photo: AFP)

Labour Party's Leaked Draft Manifesto Reveals Plan to 'Transform' UK

Amended, official manifesto to be released within days, as public celebrates pledges of higher corporate taxes and free college education

Nadia Prupis

For the first time in a long time, a political document was leaked, and the public was happy about what it said.

The U.K. Labour Party's draft election manifesto (pdf), leaked Thursday, revealed a left-leaning, populist plan for the country that includes raising corporate tax rates, increasing spending on healthcare and social programs, nationalizing public services, and axing higher education tuition fees.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will run against current Prime Minister Theresa May in the general election on June 8. The Conservative Party, which May heads, has yet to release its draft, but May has thus far unveiled plans to end bans on fox hunting and the creation of new grammar schools—making the contrast with the Labour Party's sweeping vision all too stark.

"Our manifesto will be an offer, and I believe the policies in it are very popular, an offer that will transform the lives of many people in our society," Corbyn said Thursday, adding that the Labour Party's shadow cabinet and national executive committee are unanimous in their support of the plan.

An amended, official version will be released in the next few days, Corbyn said.

Among the major promises in the draft: a rejection of May's hard-line stance on Brexit negotiations with the European Union; a ban on zero-hour contracts, which do not require employers to offer their workers a minimum amount of hours; a re-nationalization of the Royal Mail and railway companies; and an income tax hike on the top 5 percent of earners in order to pay for healthcare services.

It also promises to renew the Trident nuclear submarine system, but states that any future prime minister would have to be "extremely cautious" about deploying it. The post-Brexit administration came under fire in January for refusing to answer questions about a failed Trident launch last June.

Elsewhere, the manifesto promises to build at least 100,000 council and social houses a year for "genuinely affordable" prices and scrap controversial penalties like the bedroom tax and welfare sanctions.

The public response to the manifesto was largely positive, particularly in light of the current administration's far-right regime—contradicting much of the corporate media's take.

The manifesto was leaked just after footage emerged of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell telling activists that Labour would introduce a "National Education Service" that would be "free at the point of need throughout life."

"And that means ending the cuts in the schools at primary and secondary level. It means free childcare. It means free school training when you need it throughout life," McDonnell said during a speech in Mansfield. "And yes, it means scrapping tuition fees once and for all so we don't burden our kids with debt for the future."


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