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Labour leaked manifesto: party considers ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia

The party's draft manifesto will include a pledge to limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia. 

Labour will ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia until an investigation into their use in the Yemen is approved under proposals submitted to the party’s manifesto process, the New Statesman has learnt. Labour's foreign policy manifesto - Global Britain - also contains an extended critique of the United States government and will pledge an end to “unilateral” foreign interventions by the British government.

Under current proposals, the sale of arms will be halted until the inquiry includes, though the GMB, which represents workers in the defence industry, is likely to lobby for the sale to continue until the inquiry concludes in order to protect members’ jobs. Nia Griffith, Labour’s shadow defence secretary, is likely to weigh in behind them and has already inserted a mention of Nato into the “Global Britain” section of the manifesto, which covers foreign affairs, defence and development.

Labour’s manifesto, which is largely been written by Andrew Fisher, Jeremy Corbyn’s policy chief, will be debated, amended and approved by Labour’s national executive committee tomorrow morning at noon, with the meeting expected to run on until the early evening.

Most of the proposals will be the subject of little debate with the leadership expected to get its way on most issues. Defence, however, a totemic issue, as well as a bread-and-butter one for the GMB and Unite, who both represent workers in the defence industries.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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