Labour expected to pledge Palestinian state recognition in manifesto

Keir Starmer's election manifesto is expected to pledge recognition of a Palestinian state before the end of a peace process, Sky News understands.

According to people familiar with a draft, it will say a Palestinian state should be recognised as "part of a peace process" and not vetoed by other states in the region.

The wording will be seen as an attempt to reassure the left of his party, who were angry at the leadership's rejection of a ceasefire position for some months after the 7 October attacks.

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But the Labour Party insists there has been no change in Sir Keir's position on Palestine recognition through an international process and alongside a safe and secure Israel.

The manifesto - which will be signed off later today by party officials and unions - is otherwise understood to be cautious on new commitments, and to emphasise economic stability and national security.

It is based around the six key pledges Sir Keir has set out during the campaign.

These include economic growth, recruiting 6,500 more teachers and tackling NHS waiting lists and anti-social behaviour.

But it includes a commitment to "drive down" migration, without including a specific target.

There is no commitment to reverse the two-child benefit cap, despite senior Labour figures having criticised it.

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The manifesto will be formally signed off after several hours of discussion at a "Clause Five" meeting today, and unveiled to the public next Thursday, in a key moment of the election campaign.

In a recent interview with Sky News, when Sir Keir was asked whether a government he leads would follow Spain, Ireland and Norway in recognising a Palestinian state, he said it had to be "at the right time in the [peace] process… what it does need is international backing and consensus about the right point".

He added: "That's only going to happen if we work with our partners on it."

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Israel reacted angrily to the decisions by several European governments, with Benjamin Netanyahu calling the moves a "reward for terrorism".

Labour see what Sir Keir is supporting as different from what those governments have done.

A spokesman said: "Our position of recognising a Palestinian state as part of an international process was agreed at the National Policy Forum last July."

It is intended to be different to Jeremy Corbyn's 2017 and 2019 manifestos which promised "immediate and unconditional recognition of the state of Palestine".

The wording understood to be included in the manifesto echoes that of the foreign secretary, Lord Cameron, who told the Conservative Middle East Council in January the Palestinian people would have to be shown "irreversible progress" towards a two-state solution, including at the United Nations.

Wording on workers' rights in the draft manifesto - which has been the source of rows with union bosses for months - is understood to contain commitments to banning "exploitative" zero-hour contracts and fire and rehire.