Scotland politics

Election 2017: Dugdale says Labour manifesto leak 'far from ideal'

Kezia Dugdale Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kezia Dugdale said she had "worked very closely" with Labour's UK-wide team to create the manifesto

The leaking of a draft copy of Labour's general election manifesto is "far from ideal", the party's Scottish leader has admitted.

But Kezia Dugdale, who has been a critic of Jeremy Corbyn, insisted it included "a lot of really good ideas".

The document includes policies on renewing Trident nuclear weapons and opposing Scottish independence.

The SNP said the document showed the "chaos inside Labour", while the Conservatives said it was a "shambles".

The manifesto had been due to be finalised at a Labour meeting on Thursday, before being unveiled early next week.

But a draft version was obtained by media outlets, including the BBC, on Wednesday evening.

Unanimously agreed

Labour's shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has said he does not know who was behind the leak, which he called "disappointing".

Ms Dugdale told BBC Scotland that she had been "working very closely with the UK-wide team" on creating the manifesto, and said it was "very far from ideal" that it had been leaked.

The final contents of the manifesto were said to have been unanimously agreed at a meeting of the party's national executive committee (NEC) on Thursday afternoon.

Ms Dugdale did not take part in the meeting as it clashed with first minister's questions in the Scottish Parliament.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Labour supports Trident renewal despite the opposition of Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Labour

Speaking ahead of the NEC meeting, she added: "There's a lot of really good, solid ideas in there that all deserve to have their own ideas discussed in the pubs and town centres and streets of the country. It is a shame it has all been leaked in that sense."

According to the draft, Labour would:

  • Have at least one publicly-owned energy supplier in every region of the country, with an "immediate emergency price cap" of £1,000 a year
  • Renationalise railways as each private franchise expires, with fares frozen and guards put back on driver-only trains.
  • Establish publicly-owned bus companies.
  • Return Royal Mail to public ownership following the coalition government's "historic mistake" of selling it off

The document also says Labour supports the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons, which are based on the Clyde, but that any leader should be "extremely cautious" about using the weapons - which are opposed by Mr Corbyn.

It commits Labour to opposing a second Scottish independence referendum, saying the party will "campaign tirelessly to ensure that the desire to remain a part of the UK is respected".

And it pledges to establish a Scottish National Bank, "under Scottish control", and backed by the National Investment Bank with £20bn of lending power to deliver funds to local projects and Scotland's small businesses.

Ms Dugdale said the renationalisation of rail and energy companies would "come with a price tag".

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Media captionLabour campaigns chief: At least people are talking about our policies

But she insisted: "The reality is that this is the message we have heard from the British people.

"They want to see these services work in their interests - they are fed up of private profits being the number one priority of the Tory government.

"That is why this represents a radical transformational plan for our country, and it is one that every labour candidate will be proud to stand behind."

Scottish Labour opposes Trident renewal - although Ms Dugdale has been in favour - but she said it had not been overruled by the UK-wide party.

And she said Mr Corbyn had made his opposition to both independence and a second referendum "very clear" as it would bring "turbo-charged austerity" in the form of "£15bn of additional cuts".

Responding to the manifesto leak, SNP candidate Tommy Sheppard said it demonstrated how "divided and chaotic the Labour party are".

He added: "Most of their MPs do not even support these policies.

"By contrast, the SNP have a strong track record of delivering for the people of Scotland, who are already benefitting from policies such as no tuition fees, free school meals, and votes at 16 - often in the face of resistance from Labour in Scotland.

"In particular, Labour have broken every manifesto promise they have made on tuition fees, so no one will believe a word they say now."

Scottish Conservative candidate Miles Briggs said: "Labour's leaked manifesto claims the party is opposed to a second referendum - yet we know Jeremy Corbyn has said he is "absolutely fine" with a referendum.

"Just as Labour can't seem to publish a manifesto properly, nor can we trust a word they say on the Union."

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "This manifesto became meaningless the day Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to vote with the Conservatives and UKIP to give Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit."