Britain’s stalled departure from the European Union is taking a temporary back seat in Britain’s election campaign, as parties try to woo voters with their domestic policies.
That includes the Brexit Party led by veteran euroskeptic Nigel Farage, which published its policy pledges on Friday.
The party, which wants Britain to make a sharp break with the European Union, says it also is calling for a “political revolution” in the U.K. Its policies include a written constitution, abolition of Parliament’s unelected House of Lords, more public referendums and a cut in immigration to below 50,000 people a year, less than a quarter the current rate.
The party, founded earlier this year, currently has no seats in Parliament. It is running in almost 300 seats, but it has withdrawn from 317 Conservative-dominated constituencies to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote.
Farage urged voters to give his party lawmakers in Parliament so they could pressure the government for a hard Brexit, in which Britain wouldn’t remain aligned to EU rules and standards.
“Without us there will be no genuine Brexit,” he said.
Detailed policy prospectuses, known as manifestoes, are a British election staple, and their publication is a major campaign event for the parties.
The Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru also released its manifesto Friday, calling for billions pounds (dollars) of new investment in renewable energy to create “tens of thousands of green collar jobs.”
Plaid Cymru — Welsh for the Party of Wales — also opposes Brexit and calls for a new referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and backs an eventual vote on Welsh independence. The party held just four of the 650 House of Commons seats before the election.
The centrist, pro-EU Liberal Democrats and environmentalist Greens have also released detailed policy platforms, and the main opposition Labour Party published its manifesto on Thursday, setting out plans for a radical expansion of public spending and state ownership.
Labour promised to nationalize Britain’s railways, energy utilities and postal system, cap rents, hike the minimum wage and abolish university tuition fees and give everyone free internet access if it wins the Dec. 12 election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the measures in the party’s “manifesto of hope” would be paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and high earners.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson labelled Labour’s policies “ruinous.” Johnson’s Conservative party has not said when it will publish its own manifesto.
Johnson pushed for Britain to hold the December election, which is taking place more than two years early, in hopes of winning a majority and breaking Britain's political impasse over Brexit. All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs.
Johnson says if voters give the Conservatives a majority he will “get Brexit done” by getting Parliament to ratify his Brexit divorce deal and taking the U.K. out of the bloc by the current Brexit deadline of Jan. 31.
Labour says it will negotiate a better Brexit deal with the EU, then hold a new referendum offering British voters a choice between leaving the EU on those terms or remaining.
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