Labor manifesto completed, but left angry over leadership’s policy vetoes

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Keir Starmer speaks at the Labor Party conference in Liverpool, October 2023 (Credit: Matt Crossick/Empics/Alamy Live News)

Sienna Rodgers

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The Labor Party today finalized its manifesto for the 2024 general election at its ‘Clause V’ meeting, but the party’s left flank is unhappy that the leadership is exercising veto power over certain policies.

Dozens of stakeholders arrived for the crunch meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday. Upon arrival, they handed in their electronic devices and received numbered copies of the manifest.

Sources described the meeting, which ended no longer after 4pm after two hours of reading time and four and a half hours spent studying each section of the document, as “positive”.

A Labor spokesperson said: “Today’s meeting endorsed the Labor manifesto. This 4th of July gives the British people the chance to vote for change – to stop the chaos, turn the page and start rebuilding our country.”

But Politics at Home understands that Unite the Union – a key Labor affiliate – has not endorsed the Labor manifesto due to its positions on sacking and rehiring, and on oil and gas licensing.

Others on the Labor left were angry that the party leadership used a veto over policies it did not approve, with the chairman requiring “consensus in every department of stakeholders” before amendments could be put to a vote, sources said.

“Everything buckled,” one participant confirmed. “There is no way to make changes at all.”

The policies advocated by the left include the introduction of free school meals for all primary school children and the abolition of the two-child limit – both seen as key drivers by a number of left-wing activists, as well as think tanks and charities. of child poverty.

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Labor is currently committed to expanding breakfast clubs, but the party has not given national support to policies that would further expand free school meals. London Mayor Sadiq Khan was re-elected last month on the promise, which is also backed by campaign group Momentum.

Ahead of the ‘Clause V’ meeting, Kim Johnson, the Labor candidate who is running again as MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: “Our New Deal for Workers is a good start, but we must go further and roll out universal free school meals. and lifting the benefit limit for two children, a policy now supported across the Labor political spectrum, including by Gordon Brown and Torsten Bell. I can’t think of a bigger priority.”

Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, a spokesperson for Momentum said: “We are deeply disappointed that the Starmer leadership has not taken up proposals for free school meals and the removal of the cap on the two child benefits, which could easily be funded by new taxes on the super-rich.

“Under the Conservatives and their austerity regime, more than four million children are living in poverty. We need to throw out not just the Tories, but Tory policies too. Together with child poverty campaigners and friends from across the labor movement, we will continue to push for these policies, which represent the essence of true Labor values.”

One Labor source said a participant pushed for immediate recognition of Palestinian statehood but the chairman refused to vote on it. Instead, Labor has committed to recognizing Palestine before the end of any peace process.

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Labor has been contacted for comment.

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