LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – With Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn seeking to convince the U.K. that he is a prime minister-in-waiting at the party’s annual conference on Wednesday, here are the policies the country could expect to see if the veteran leftist wins power.
Socialist Corbyn has been a longtime skeptic of the European Union and its free-trade policies, but has so far kept his cards close to his chest regarding Brexit.
The party on Tuesday endorsed the possibility of a second vote, but its members and leadership appear to be at loggerheads over whether that should include the option to remain in the EU.
Labour agrees that a transition period is needed after leaving the bloc, during which it would seek to remain in a customs union with the EU and within the single market.
The party is pushing for “full access to the internal market of the European Union” after Brexit, effectively calling for a European Economic Area-style relationship with the single market. That could mean a similar relationship to the EU as that enjoyed by Norway, but would also require the U.K. to accept the EU’s four freedoms, including immigration.
Shadow finance minister John McDonnell outlined on Monday the party’s huge renationalisation plans, taking in the water, energy and railway industries.
He also announced that he would force large companies to set up employee ownership schemes that would give workers up to £500 ($655, €557) in dividends each year per person.
Labour has promised to reintroduce a 50 percent tax rate on the highest earners and bring an end to “zero-hours contracts,” under which workers are employed without any guarantee of how many hours they will work.
Pacifist Corbyn, a fierce critic of Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s Iraq War policy, promised to put “conflict resolution and human rights at the heart” of foreign policy, which would be “guided by the values of peace, universal rights and international law.”
The leader is also a long-time critic of Israel, which some believe has slowed Labour’s response to anti-Semitism within the party. Corbyn is a supporter of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
To mark the 70th anniversary of Britain’s National Health Service, Corbyn promised in July that Labour would find an extra £22.4 billion for the free-at-point-of-use system by 2023.
The cash injection would top the total promised by Theresa May’s Conservatives by nearly £2 billion, which Corbyn said would be funded by a business tax and levy on high-income earners.
The party wants to reintroduce grants for university students and abolish university tuition fees.
It has also promised to extend 30 hours of free childcare to all two-year-olds and offer free school meals for primary school children.
Corbyn has been a long-time opponent of Britain’s Trident nuclear program but the party committed to its renewal in its 2017 manifesto, in a potential source of conflict between the party leadership and his MPs.