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Recognition of Palestine ‘as part of peace process’ to be in Labour manifesto

Labour’s manifesto will pledge to recognise a Palestinian state before the end of peace negotiations, i can reveal.

The party will vow to officially recognise Palestine “as part of a peace process” rather than after it has concluded, going further than the current government.

Additionally, its manifesto will not commit to scrapping the controversial two-child benefit cap but Labour insiders say they are hopeful the party will try to find a way to drop the policy throughout the parliament.

Sir Keir Starmer has come under immense pressure over the cap which is said to be a key driver of child poverty in the country.

But he has resisted calls to make a commitment to reversing the policy, insisting he and shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves would not made spending pledges without clear funding.

Sir Keir has also faced criticism for his response to the conflict in Gaza, following the Hamas attack on Israel, with critics saying he was too slow to call for an “immediate ceasefire”.

He faced a mutiny in the Commons last year when more than 50 MPs, including frontbenchers, voted against his stance and has been hit by councillor resignations around the country.

FILE PHOTO: British opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer visits the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth, Britain June 5, 2024. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo
Critics accused Sir Keir of being too slow to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza (Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

There have been concerns in the party that it could lose votes to breakaway candidates, such as those in George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain, who take a more pro-Palestine stance.

Mr Galloway won the Rochdale by-election in March with the war in Gaza a major issue in the campaign.

A commitment to a ceasefire will be spelled out in the manifesto alongside the pledge to giving Palestine diplomatic status as a nation.

UK Government policy is not to recognise Palestine before a negotiated settlement agreed by both the Israeli government and Palestinian representatives.

A switch to formal recognition – not as part of a final peace deal but during the negotiation process – would accelerate the move towards a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

Labour previously said Palestinian statehood “is not in the gift of a neighbour” and it is expected to state that it would not allow a veto for neighbouring countries – although it is not clear how this would work.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron suggested the UK could recognise a Palestinian sate before the conclusion of peace talks but this was later slapped down by No10.

Following the announcement by Ireland, Spain and Norway that they plan to recognise a state of Palestine, Labour said it wanted to begin discussions “in earnest” if it is elected into government.

Labour is due sign off its final manifesto in a crucial pre-election meeting tomorrow.

The document, based around Starmer’s “five missions”, will set out the policies a Labour government intends to implement if the party wins the election on 4 July.

i understands it will contain a commitment to bringing down net immigration but without a setting specific numerical target.

On its plan to bolster workers rights, Labour will pledge to protect collective bargaining as well as banning the practice of “fire and rehire” and the “exploitative” zero-hour contracts.

The party’s final stance the New Deal for Workers Rights was reached after weeks of wrangling with the unions, some of which accused Labour of watering down its policy to appeal to businesses.

The manifesto will stress the need for a “partnership between unions and businesses”.

Labour will not pledge to reverse new Voter ID rules, introduced by the Conservative government, but will promise that military and armed forces cards will be valid.

And it will include several references to the importance of national security and the UK’s membership of NATO.

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