Corbyn goes on the attack after chaotic 24 hours for Labour Party

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking to the press in London, where a party meeting took place following the leak of its draft general election manifesto. Picture: Rick Findler/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking to the press in London, where a party meeting took place following the leak of its draft general election manifesto. Picture: Rick Findler/PA Wire
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Jeremy Corbyn will today hit back at claims a Labour government would harm national security by insisting he is “not a pacifist”.

In an attack on Theresa May’s statesmanship, Mr Corbyn will accuse the government of “waiting to see which way the wind blows in Washington” before deciding on foreign policy and pledge there would “no more hand-holding with Donald Trump” under Labour.

The Labour leader will blame a “bomb first, talk later” for the growing insecurity in the world and claim the war on terror has failed.

Mr Corbyn will hope the pivot to foreign policy distracts attention from a chaotic 24 hours in which the entire draft Labour manifesto was leaked and his car ran over a BBC cameraman’s foot in full view of journalists.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister will mount her own attack in an appeal to “proud and patriotic working class people” in Labour heartlands to put their trust in her.

In a speech in north-east England, she will ask voters to reject a “nonsensical and incompetent” Labour Party and put their faith in Tory promises to tackle “burning injustices” with policies like a cap on energy prices and protecting pensions from unscrupulous bosses.

“We respect that parents and grandparents taught their children and grandchildren that Labour was a party that shared their values and stood up for their community,” Mrs May is expected to say.

“But across the country today, traditional Labour supporters are increasingly looking at what Jeremy Corbyn believes in and are appalled.

“We have learned from the shambolic leak of his manifesto that at the heart of his plan is a desire to go back to the disastrous socialist policies of the 1970s.”

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The Labour campaign risked descending into chaos yesterday after the party’s entire draft manifesto was leaked on the eve of a meeting to sign it off.

The document suggests Labour will commit to nationalising the railways, creating a public energy provider, rolling out collective bargaining for employees, and adding £60 billion per year in new public spending.

Mr Corbyn cancelled an appearance at a poster launch yesterday morning to deal with “internal matters” after the leak, which he reportedly described as “unacceptable”.

The leaked draft indicates Labour will commit to nationalising bus firms and the Royal Mail, and scrap university tuition fees in England. It also suggests Labour will refuse to set a target on cutting immigration and rule out leaving the European Union without a deal.

On Scotland, the draft manifesto commits the party to opposing a second independence referendum, extending the High Speed 2 rail line to Scotland, and creating a Scottish National Bank to encourage infrastructure investment.

It fails to mention Kezia Dugdale’s call for a new Act of Union, but confirms Labour’s support for a Constitutional Convention to create a federal UK, and says the party would appoint a minister for England within the UK Department for Local Government to work with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish secretaries.

In an effort to bridge party divides over Trident, the manifesto commits Labour to the nuclear deterrent. But in a nod to Mr Corbyn’s opposition to the weapons it states “any prime minister should be extremely cautious about ordering the use of weapons of mass destruction which would result in the indiscriminate killing of millions of innocent civilians”.

On pensions, the draft promises no increase in the retirement age beyond 66. To pay for the pledges, Labour has already announced plans to hike corporation tax to 26 per cent by 2022, bringing in an extra £20 billion, and indicated that people earning more than £80,000 will face tax rises.