U.K.’s Labour Unveils ‘Radical and Responsible’ Election Program

  • Opposition party would prioritize jobs in Brexit negotiations
  • Corbyn renews challenge to prime minister over TV debates

The U.K.’s opposition Labour Party is offering voters a “radical and responsible” program in the June 8 general election, party leader Jeremy Corbyn will say on Tuesday.

Accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of favoring the rich over those in need, Corbyn will use a speech marking the publication of the party’s manifesto to promise that Labour would “reverse” the priorities of government and put “the preservation of jobs first” as Britain leaves the European Union.

“The record proves one thing: The Tories are still the nasty party, the party of prejudice, the party of the rich, the party of the tight-fisted and the mean-spirited,” Corbyn will say, according to extracts of the speech released by his office. “Children growing up in poverty; students leaving college burdened with debt; workers who have gone years without a real pay rise coping with stretched family budgets. Labour’s mission, over the next five years, is to change all that.”

Labour is lagging behind May’s Conservatives by about 20 percentage points in polls. Corbyn will seek to rally support behind an agenda of increased taxes for the wealthy and more spending on public services. He also will challenge May to “come out of hiding” and take part in TV debates, which would give him a platform to communicate directly with voters.

“I am confident that once the people of Britain have the chance to hear our promises and plans, they will decide now is the time for Labour,” Corbyn will say. “Let’s have that debate on television so millions can make up their minds.”

May’s party poured scorn on Labour’s manifesto, much of which was leaked to newspapers last week, and questioned Corbyn’s credibility as a leader capable of guiding Britain through its divorce from the EU.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s policies are a shambles and he simply doesn’t have what it takes to lead our country through Brexit and beyond,” Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said in an emailed statement. “It is not worth taking the risk,” Gauke said, “it’s ordinary working people who will pay for the chaos of Corbyn.”

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