General election 2019: UKIP launches manifesto
The UK Independence Party has launched a “Brexit and beyond” manifesto with a commitment to leaving the EU on 31 January 2020 without a deal.
Interim leader Pat Mountain said the PM’s withdrawal agreement would keep the UK “shackled to Brussels”.
The party also wants to cut net immigration to below 10,000 per year.
It is standing in 44 seats across the UK – a substantially reduced number from the 378 candidates they stood in 2017.
Speaking to Sky News, Ms Mountain said the number of candidates had been “carefully chosen” in order not to “do any damage to any actual Brexiter”.
Writing in the manifesto, she said UKIP was “the party of Brexit and beyond”.
“We are proud to have developed a full common-sense manifesto which combines our founding libertarian principles with populism and authentic conservatism.
“In particular, we stand for free speech, free markets, financial responsibility and traditional British values.”
On Brexit, the party says it stands for “a complete and total withdrawal from the European Union” including leaving the single market and the customs union.
The party’s manifesto also includes promises to:
- Abolish prescription charges in England at a cost of £750m to be funded by “ending health tourism”
- Waiving tuition fees for GPs while they work in the NHS
- Increase social care funding in England by £5bn
- Scrap the bedroom tax and limit child benefit to three children
- Stop benefits to foreign nationals resident in the UK until they have paid tax and National Insurance for five years
- End the right to buy and provide grants to build homes on brownfield sites
- Employ an extra 30,000 teachers and encourage the establishment of new grammar schools
- Scrap HS2 instead using the money to invest in existing railways and re-open old branch lines
- Increase funding for the armed forces budget by £7bn to be funded by abolishing the overseas aid budget
- Renationalise the probation service
- Legislate to change the BBC TV licence to a voluntary subscription
- Ensure all UK produced eggs should be free-range
Speaking at the manifesto launch in central London, Ms Mountain said: “We are realists, we know that we are not going to be in Number 10 Downing Street.
“But we want to send a message – the message that there is still a party in this country that can’t be bought, that can’t be pressurised into silence.
“We are here for all those who have been let down and betrayed by our politicians in Westminster.”
The party has experienced a period of turmoil since winning the highest number of seats in the 2014 European elections.
In October, Richard Braine resigned as party leader blaming “internal conflict” – making him UKIP’s eighth different leader since the Brexit referendum in 2016.