General Election 2019: Labour figures meet to finalise manifesto
Labour officials will meet later today to finalise the party’s manifesto ahead of December’s general election.
The party has already unveiled a number of policies and on Thursday announced it would part-nationalise telecomms giant BT in a bid to provide free full-fibre broadband for all.
However, there are some areas in which Labour is yet to finalise its position, including its stand on free movement and immigration.
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Labour is also considering a policy to help women affected by the increase in state retirement age.
The party is considering providing additional support to women affected by plans laid out in 2011 to increase the state pension age from 60 to 66, according to the BBC.
The senior figures will discuss whether to adhere to a commitment to “maintain and extend” free movement rights as urged to during the party’s conference in September.
In 2017, the party’s manifesto said free movement would end with Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the policies on immigration will be “based on fairness and justice, and the economic needs of our society”.
The Conservative Party has already said it will implement a points-based immigration system such as the one used in Australia.
While the Liberal Democrats have called on Labour to make a “cast-iron commitment” to preserve free movement rights. Home affairs spokeswoman Christine Jardine said failing to do so would be a “betrayal of future generations”.
The Lib Dems have promised a “fair, effective” immigration system, which would include plans to resettle 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children a year.
But some within Labour are concerned about alienating Leave voters with an immigration policy that is too open.
Leader of Unite, Len McCluskey, which is Labour’s biggest supporting union, has called on the party to address concerns about free movement with new employment policies.
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He said Labour would “protect all workers” through labour market regulations, but denied reports he had told Corbyn to take a tough stance on immigration.
“It won’t stop the free movement of labour. It will effectively make certain that greedy bosses, agency companies, are not abusing working people,” he said.
Corbyn also confirmed on Friday that a pledge to abolish tuition fees will be included in the party’s manifesto, and that nationalising Royal Mail, rail networks and utilities were “clearly going to be in our manifesto next week”.