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10 May 2017

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. 

By Stephen Bush

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.

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