Political parties produce a document of pledges, known as a manifesto, ahead of elections to inform voters what the party would do in government if they win the election.
Scroll down for links to the mainstream national parties’ manifestos for the 2017 UK general election as well as our summaries of their pledges.
If you know of a manifesto that we have not provided a link for, please contact us with a link.
What Is A Party Manifesto (Scroll Down)?
The Conservative and Unionist Party manifesto is a more serious document than the other parties’ manifestos. There is a noticeable lack of pictures, and a clear focus on the gravity of the challenges ahead.
The party reasserts its message that only ‘strong, stable leadership’, in the form of a Conservative government led by Theresa May, will be adequate to deal with the challenges that face Britain over the next five years.
Jeremy Corbyn‘s election manifesto takes the Labour Party further to the Left than it has been for over two decades.
The manifesto pledges have been ‘fully costed’ and this translates into large scale tax hikes for those who earn more than £80,000 and for business owners.
The Liberal Democrats lead their election manifesto on the European issue. The party want the British public to have the right to accept or decline the deal reached at the end of the Article 50 negotiations.
The manifesto is 10,000 words shorter than the party’s 2015 manifesto, and seems to offer a vision of what the party would campaign for in opposition rather than seeking to form a government.
The UK Independence Party has published its manifesto for the upcoming election. They are the first party to publish any literature for this election season. The main focus of the manifesto is local representation and the importance of local voices for local issues. Immigration features heavily, as is expected from UKIP. Other areas which receive a lot of attention in the nine-page document are: conservation of green spaces, the National Health Service, and foreign aid.
The Green Party
The Green Party manifesto focuses, unsurprisingly, on the environment. The party is defending one seat in this election (Brighton Pavilion) and are seeking to gain an additional seat in the next Parliament (possibly Bristol West).
The Green Party is pro-EU and a left-of-centre party in domestic politics.
What is an election manifesto?
A political party’s manifesto is a document describing the party’s position on various policies, and outlining what that party would seek to do over the course of the next parliament if elected with a majority.
The manifesto usually includes an essay from the leader of the party, outlining his or her vision for the future. This general introduction sets the theme for the manifesto, and readers should instantly understand what the party’s key issues are.
On the following pages, the party will provide some further details on specific headline policies that they are particularly proud to be offering.
Parties do not have to include everything in their manifesto, but it is seen as a betrayal of the electorate to include something in your manifesto and do the exact opposite in government. The best example of this in recent years is the Liberal Democrats reneging on their commitment not to increase university tuition fees for students.
Predictions: What Can We Expect In the 2017 Manifestos?
The Conservatives are far and away the favourites to win this election with a majority government (see the latest polls here).
With this in mind, the Conservatives won’t want to included too many controversial policies that could distract from their strong advantage in the polls.
The Conservative party manifesto is likely to put Brexit at the forefront, stating that Theresa May is the only political leader who will negotiate a good deal for Britain upon leaving the EU. Mrs May‘s personal approval ratings are high, so the manifesto will certainly aim to present her as a ‘strong and stable’ leader.
International Relations and Aid
Defence and international aid are both areas which have already been mentioned by Conservative politicians in interviews as areas which will see commitments made in the party’s manifesto. International Aid will be maintained at the current level of 0.7 percent gross national income. The Conservatives are committed to Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent, and have recently committed £31 billion to a new fleet of nuclear submarines.
Education and the NHS
The party will include domestic policies on the NHS and education. Education policy will support Theresa May’s vision for ‘a good school place for every child’, with new Grammar and specialist schools being opened around the country. The NHS will be an interesting one to watch in this manifesto – Labour will want to accuse the Conservatives of privatising the NHS, so the Conservatives will have to be strategic as to what they include in their manifesto when it comes to NHS reforms.
Theresa May has, as of yet, refused to rule out tax increases. The Conservative party is traditionally the party of low taxes, but the Chancellor has suggested that some increases in income tax or National Insurance may be required. On the lower end of the tax scale, the Conservatives will boast their record of taking thousands of low paid workers out of tax altogether, with the higher threshold of basic rate income tax.
The Labour party is struggling to unite around its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is further to the Left than most of his parliamentary colleagues. Mr Corbyn might be seeking a revolution, but many of his backbenchers, who refuse to sit on his frontbenches, would prefer a return to New Labour.
The Labour manifesto will probably feature their leader less than is typical of a party’s manifesto. The key focus will be domestic policy.
Labour will not propose a referendum on the final Brexit deal. However, beyond this, the party has not made clear its position on Britain’s departure from the EU. The parliamentary party largely campaigned to remain in the EU, but many Labour voters supported the Leave campaign. This may result in more vague commitments regarding Brexit than the Conservatives, as Labour can’t afford to alienate any more voters.
Education and the NHS
These key areas of domestic politics are likely to take centre stage in the Labour manifesto. Jeremy Corbyn opposes Theresa May’s education policy and, if elected, would put an end to her new Grammar School plans. He calls for a good comprehensive school for every child. He opposes selective schools and wants children to attend their local school.
On the NHS, the Labour party is in comfortable territory. After all, it was a Labour government that founded the NHS. However, Labour’s public services solutions tend to be quite costly, and therefore the party will be expected to outline where they expect the money to come from to foot the bill.
Jeremy Corbyn would like to re-nationalise the ‘failing’ railways. He points to the ongoing standoff between Unions and Southern Rail. Mr Corbyn strongly supports the Unions in industrial disputes, and would like to take private corporations out of public services. Labour are also likely to propose some new tax arrangements, with Mr Corbyn recently stating that anyone earning over £70,000 should be classed as rich.
The Labour party realises that it has lost a lot of supporters to UKIP (in England), the SNP (in Scotland) and Plaid Cymru (in Wales). Perhaps in a bid to garner support from this group of voters, the Labour party has promised to introduce four new bank holidays to the national calendar, in respect of the four nation saints of the United Kingdom: St David, St Patrick, St Andrew and St George.
Defence and International Relations
This is an area of policy where Jeremy Corbyn and his party diverge. Mr Corbyn wants to scrap the Trident nuclear deterrent, but his party largely supports the defence system. There are also differences in ideas for international interventions, such as in Syria. The party will have to clarify its official position in its manifesto.
Tim Farron’s party is hoping for something of a comeback after a disastrous performance in 2015. The Liberal Democrats have already ruled out the possibility of forming a coalition with the Conservative or Labour, so voters will have to consider their manifesto as an indication of how they would lobby and pressure a government.
The Liberal Democrats are predicted to return to Westminster with just nine seats, so aren’t a realistic contender in the race to form a government.
The Liberal Democrats are resolutely pro-EU. The party will reaffirm its commitment to the single market and free movement of people. It is likely to position itself as the only sensible alternative to Theresa May’s Brexit plans, pointing out the weakness of Jeremy Corbyn in this area. The Liberal Democrats want a second referendum at the end of the two year ‘divorce’ period, at which point the British public would be asked whether to accept or decline the Brexit deal.
The Liberal Democrats are a left wing party and much of their economic policy will align with Labour policy. It is possible that in this election the Liberal Democrats will venture towards the centre ground in a bid to attract centrist Labour and Conservative voters. There could be some pro-business policies in addition to re-distributive policies, aimed at sharing wealth more equally throughout society.
Defence and International Relations
The Liberal Democrats are against the Trident nuclear defence system.
UK Independence Party
UKIP is going to have an unusual election this time around. It is the first election since Britain decided to leave the EU and therefore people who have voted for UKIP in recent years may be wondering what the party’s purpose now is. It looks like the party is moving further to the right wing of politics. Polls suggest that UKIP is only likely to win one seat in the next Parliament, if that.
The referendum may be over, but UKIP still has a vision of how Brexit could be that it wants to promote. Brexit to UKIP is about immigration and border control. It’s also about economic control and the ability of Britain to set its own agenda. The party will need to use its manifesto to prove how a vote for them will improve Mrs May’s chances of securing a good deal with Europe, as no one expects UKIP to be in government itself.
UKIP’s domestic policies are likely to be similar to other European right-wing parties. One policy that has already been announced by leader Paul Nuttell is to ban Muslim ladies from wearing a Nikab, the full face covering. UKIP says that such outfits are a security risk.
The Green Party
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party and their only MP, is seeking a young, left-wing vote. The key battlegrounds for the Green Party are in Brighton Pavillion (Caroline Lucas’ seat) and Bristol West, which the party is hoping to win for the first time.
The party’s manifesto could feature lots of policies which a locally relevant to these areas in order to show their commitment to supporters in their key consituencies. A quick glance at the party’s website shows that they are only seriously contended a handful of seats, and therefore a disproportionate amount of their attention will be devoted to these more realistic seats.
The manifesto will, of course, include many green and sustainable policies.