UK

Starmer makes manifesto pledge to recognise Palestinian state

The Labour leader suggested that such a move should not be blocked by a neighbouring country.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, at the launch event for Labour’s campaign bus at Uxbridge College, while on the General Election campaign trail
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, at the launch event for Labour’s campaign bus at Uxbridge College, while on the General Election campaign trail (Lucy North/PA)

Recognition of Palestinian statehood as part of any Middle East peace process will be a Labour manifesto pledge, Sir Keir Starmer confirmed as party figures met to sign off on the final policy document.

The Labour leader suggested that such a move should not be blocked by a neighbouring country, saying it was an “inalienable right” of Palestinians and not in “the gift of Israel”.

It comes as shadow ministers including Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Hilary Benn were seen arriving on Friday at the party’s secretive Clause V meeting, where members will hammer out the final version of its manifesto.

During a campaign visit before heading to the gathering, Sir Keir said: “That needs to be part of the process, it’s very important we have a viable Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.”

Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on the Gaza war may have hurt the strength of Labour’s vote in Muslim communities
Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on the Gaza war may have hurt the strength of Labour’s vote in Muslim communities (James Manning/PA)

Asked whether this will be in the manifesto, he told the BBC: “It will be.”

The move comes after the party faced setbacks in the local elections in some previously safe areas, particularly those with large Muslim populations, where candidates may have suffered as a result of Sir Keir’s stance on the Gaza war.

It is likely to anger the Israeli government, which reacted with fury when Ireland, Spain and Norway moved to recognise Palestinian statehood last month.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported Sir Keir’s party will commit to measures cracking down on companies that refuse to comply with its plans for training British workers.

The government would be able to block individual firms from sponsoring work visas if it believed the employer was not doing enough to carry out domestic training in key sectors like care and construction under the reported plans.

The finer points of Labour’s policy document have been kept tightly under wraps after 2017’s draft manifesto was leaked, with attendees of the party’s Clause V meeting only told its central London location this morning.

The gathering takes its name from the fifth clause of the party rulebook, which seeks to ensure members, affiliated organisations and elected representatives are all able to take part in policy formulation.

The document will be based on the party’s five missions for government announced last year on the economy, the NHS, energy, education and planning reform.

Party pledges include the creation of GB Energy, a publicly owned green power company, 40,000 more NHS appointments a week and the recruitment of 6,500 new teachers to plug gaps in the workforce.

The manifesto is expected to be officially launched on June 13.