Denis Staunton’s UK election diary – Corbyn’s radical plan
Manifesto may be Labour’s last chance to change campaign’s course and prevent Johnson winning majority
Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks as he visits the Heart of Scotstoun community centre in Glasgow, last week. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP
Good morning. Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour’s manifesto in Birmingham, promising the most radical plan in decades to transform Britain. After Tuesday’s debate failed to move the dial, this may be Corbyn’s last chance to change the course of the campaign and prevent Boris Johnson from winning a majority. As I report here, the manifesto will promise an ambitious programme of council house building that will see the biggest expansion of affordable housing in Britain since the 1960s.
In 2017, Labour policies most commentators expected to be too radical for the British public proved to be so popular that the party’s manifesto launch saw the start of the dramatic rise in support that saw Corbyn draw almost level with the Conservatives by election day.
When he launches the manifesto this morning, Corbyn will anticipate the hostile reaction it will provoke from what he identifies as the rich and powerful and embrace it. “Over the next three weeks, the most powerful people in Britain and their supporters are going to tell you that everything in this manifesto is impossible. That it’s too much for you. Because they don’t want real change. Why would they? The system is working just fine for them. It’s rigged in their favour. But it’s not working for you. If your wages never seem to go up and your bills never seem to go down, if your public services only seem to get worse, despite the heroic efforts of those who work in them, then it’s not working for you”, he will say. Jo Swinson chose a bar in Camden to launch the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto Wednesday evening but the Daily Mail’s Henry Deedes says it had all the fizz of a cheap spumante. The Liberal Democrats have declined steadily in the polls since the start of the campaign and the manifesto is unlikely to reverse that trend as voters drift towards the two big parties.
Finn McRedmond on the Conservatives’ fake fact checker.
Newton Emerson says Northern Ireland needs more elections.
Quote of the day
“We can’t walk away from Europe. We are European. This is about feeling and identity” – Boris Johnson on Britain’s relationship with Europe after Brexit.
What’s on today
9.30am: Office for National Statistics releases figures for Britain’s public finances.
11am: Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour manifesto in Birmingham.
7.30pm: Nigel Farage interviewed in ITV election special.
Conservatives 40.9; Labour 29.2; Liberal Democrats 15.1; Brexit 6.4; Greens 3.2; Others 5.3