In Depth

The Brexit Party’s ‘manifesto’ at a glance

Nigel Farage is hoping for snow as party braces for heavy defeat

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said he is hoping for snow or rain on election day tomorrow to keep opposition supporters away from the ballot box.

“I know that people who are going to vote for us will turn out, because they absolutely believe in our message,” said Farage.

The Brexit party will not field any candidates against the Conservatives in the 317 seats they won at the last general election, but still wants its candidates elected to Parliament to hold Boris Johnson to account and amend the PM’s current withdrawal agreement. He has claimed that even a Tory majority will plunge the country “back into crisis by May next year”.

The party has eschewed the term “manifesto” in favour of a “Contract with the People”. Here is what it says.

Brexit

Unsurprisingly, Brexit remains the party’s No. 1 goal.

Launching the election “contract” at an event in Westminster, Farage said: “Without us there will be no genuine Brexit. We now want to lead the next phase which is a political revolution which puts the ordinary people first.”

The party aims to secure a “clean-break Brexit”, with “no extended ‘transition period’, no more years of wrangling with Brussels [and] no further entanglement with the EU’s controlling political institutions”.

Migration

A Brexit Party government would introduce a net migration cap of 50,000 people a year - or as Farage puts it, “acceptable and very workable postwar levels”.

And illegal immigrants would not be granted leave to remain in the UK. “We think a strong message that says if you come here illegally across the Channel or in the back of a container that you wouldn't be allowed to stay will prevent further human tragedy, and it’s the right thing to do,” said Farage.

Halving overseas aid

The Brexit Party would halve the UK’s foreign aid budget if elected to govern in the December election.

The party has criticised Britain’s “bloated” foreign aid budget, which is used for projects and humanitarian aid in the developing world, and says it would use the saved funds to invest in the UK.

Under legislation approved in 2015, the UK government is legally required to spend 0.7% of the nation’s Gross National Income on overseas development aid each year, which equates to around £13bn.

Health

The party says it would invest in the NHS and social care, and ensure better management of the health service, with more medical staff and less waste.

Farage insists the service would continue to be publicly owned and free at the point of use, saying: “There should be no privatisation of the NHS.”

But critics point out that, earlier this year, the Brexit Party boss called on private health companies to “relieve the burden” on the health service.

And, as UKIP leader back in 2014, he was caught on camera telling party members that the NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies, as The Guardian reported at the time.

Voting reform

Farage wants the first-past-the-post election system to be scrapped in favour of proportional representation. In 2015, his UKIP party won just one seat in Parliament, despite picking up almost four million votes.

But the proposed change would override the result of a 2011 referendum in which the British public rejected a shift to a “preferential” voting system, by 68% to 32%.  

The Brexit Party would also introduce a “citizens' initiative” under which a referendum could be triggered if five million people sign a valid register calling for a public vote on a specific issue.

Abolishing the House of Lords

Farage has reiterated plans to abolish the unelected House of Lords, which he claims is “stuffed with Remainers”.

In 2014, during his reign as UKIP leader, Farage took issue with then prime minister David Cameron over the lack of peers from the Eurosceptic party in the Lords.

The Lords has had an active role in the Brexit saga, notes the Daily Express, which points out that the peers “hampered former prime minister Theresa May in her efforts to get her withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons”.

Economy

Farage is planning to scrap VAT on domestic fuel bills, and to reduce tariffs on food clothing and footwear.

The party would free up small businesses to create new jobs by exempting from corporation tax the one million companies with a pre-tax profit of less than £50,000. This would also save them from “the time-consuming and costly burden of audit and compliance”, says the party.

Cancelling the HS2 rail project

Farage has repeatedly stated his party’s intention to scrap HS2, which he claims would free up £200bn.

Brexit Party chair Richard Tice has said the cash saved from ditching the project would be used to “invest in the regions and in infrastructure projects which benefit areas other than London”.

Scrapping inheritance tax

The policy pamphlet commits the party to scrapping inheritance tax, a plan previously floated by the Brexit Party chair.

Tice said in September that the “Tories bottled it, we won’t” - a reference to the Tories’ proposal back in 2007 to raise the threshold to £1m.

The Brexit Party says that the tax “hits grieving families when they’re at their weakest” and “punishes those who work hard all their lives for assets they can pass on to their children”. 

The party also claims that the tax “generates relatively little” in revenues. But according to the director of the Resolution Foundation, Torsten Bell, “scrapping inheritance is a very expensive pledge”, with the unpopular levy raising £5.3bn for the Treasury last year alone.

Ending interest charges on student loans

In another cost-cutting fiscal pledge, Farage has said that his party would scrap all interest paid on student tuition fees.

Labelling the charges “outrageous” and “unfair”, Farage told a party rally in Birmingham in June that his group would use £200bn to “wipe away” the interest on university debts. The Brexit Party policy pamphlet repeats this pledge.

Environment

The party is promising to plant “millions of trees to capture CO2” and promote a global tree-planting initiative at the UN.

And exporting waste across the world to be burnt, buried or dumped at sea would be banned.

How are the parties trying to win our vote?

Here are The Week’s guides to the main parties’ policies:

The Tory manifestoThe Labour manifestoThe Liberal Democrat manifestoThe Green Party manifestoThe general election manifestos at a glance

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