The 43-page document, which includes plans to nationalise key industries and reverse years of austerity, has been denounced by the Conservatives as a recipe for taxes and borrowing that would leave the UK on the “road to ruin”.
Labour’s joint election coordinator, Andrew Gwynne, said the leak should be used as an “opportunity” to put forward the party’s “vision of a different kind of Britain, a fairer Britain, a more equal Britain, a Britain on the side of the many, not the few”.
The draft manifesto says a government led by Jeremy Corbyn would:
:: Renationalise the railways as franchises expire, with fares frozen and guards put back on driver-only trains
:: Establish publicly owned bus companies
:: Return Royal Mail to public ownership, reversing the coalition government’s “historic mistake” of selling it off
:: Take energy “back into public ownership” by setting up a rival to the existing Big Six firms
The party’s national executive, shadow cabinet, policy forum, trade union leaders and a backbench committee of MPs are all gathering in central London to rubber-stamp the document ahead of its official launch next week.
Mr Corbyn avoided reporters as he arrived for the meeting, with his car driving into the building through a side entrance.
A BBC cameraman was injured as Mr Corbyn’s convoy was mobbed by a crowd of journalists.
As he went into the meeting, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told reporters outside that the manifesto was a “fantastic, exciting document … a modernising, exciting new modern manifesto”.
Leaving shortly after 2pm for a prior engagement, senior shadow cabinet minister Jon Trickett said the meeting had been “very productive so far” and “an exciting document is emerging”.
As the fallout from the leak – and speculation as to the source – continued on Thursday, Mr Corbyn pulled out of a planned poster launch because he was dealing with “internal matters” ahead of the meeting.
A senior Labour source said suggestions the manifesto was leaked by Mr Corbyn’s team were “categorically and completely untrue”.
It is understood Mr Corbyn’s office will try to determine the source of the leak, but will not give a running commentary.
A separate source denied the leak had come from party headquarters and insisted no one there had the manifesto.