BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his party’s election manifesto on Thursday, setting out radical plans to transform Britain with public sector pay rises, higher taxes on companies and a sweeping nationalisation of infrastructure.
Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the launch of the party manifesto in Birmingham, Britain November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Voters face a stark choice at the country’s Dec. 12 election: opposition leader Corbyn’s socialist vision, including widespread nationalisation and free public services, or Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s drive to deliver Brexit within months and build a “dynamic market economy”.
Speaking in Birmingham, Corbyn set out his crowd-pleasing plans, offering something for almost everyone in Britain – from help to parents with young children to free university education and more money for elderly care.
In a speech punctuated by applause and standing ovations from supporters, he promised to stand up for ordinary people against the “bankers, billionaires and the establishment” who were fighting to keep a system “rigged in their favour”.
“Labour’s manifesto is a manifesto for hope, that is what this document is – a manifesto that will bring real change,” Corbyn said, describing his approach as the most “radical and ambitious plan” in decades.
Lagging in the polls, Corbyn hopes his message of change will drown out criticism of his Brexit stance, which even some in his party say lacks the clarity of Johnson’s vow to “get Brexit done”.
Instead, the Labour leader says he will get Brexit “sorted” in six months, with a new exit deal put to a second referendum as a way to bring the country together.
Hoping to avoid comparisons with Labour’s 1983 socialist-inspired manifesto described later by a then Labour lawmaker as “the longest suicide note in history”,