Peter Hoskin

Labour manifesto launch: live blog

Labour manifesto launch: live blog
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1240: And Brown rounds proceedings off by saying "future" a few times.  Did you manage to stay awake?  Never mind - I did, so that you wouldn't have to.  My immediate thoughts below, of course.  But I've given the actual manifesto a quick read-through as I've been typing - and will report back shortly.  That's it for this live blog.  Thanks for tuning in, and all that.

1237: Brown says that "we are the party of everyone on middle or modest incomes in this country".  Hm - try telling that to everyone who lost out from the 10p tax debacle.

1235: This is dragging on.  The Tories should be taking lessons from this event - things need to be clearer and more direct.  Doubt many people watching this could actually name many Labour policies at the end.

1231: The Sun's Graeme Wilson asks whether Brown will apologise for Labour's infamous cancer leaflets.  Brown claims that Labour don't have access to people's personal health data.  He adds that it's "right" to outline Labour's cancer policy ... cue a lengthy description of the cancer "guarantee".

1230: Brown says that "every single penny" that has gone to the banks will "be returned to the people of this country".  Doesn't mention timescale yet.

1225: Brown says that, after their bank levy, the Tories will "compensate" the banks by cutting corporation tax by 3p.  First time I've heard this attack - another attempt to tar the Tories with the banking brush, even though the corporation tax cut will help businesses other than banks.

1224: Alistair Darling repeats the charge that the Tories' marriage tax break "discriminates" against certain families.

1221: Pass the sick bag.  Asked if he can expand on an answer, Alan Johnson says "I don't know if I could improve on your perfect answer, Prime Minister."  And to think he coulda been a Labour leadership contender.

1217: Brown says that he "didn't want to raise the upper rate of income tax," but that he "had to" because of the deficit.  Funny that, because - even on Labour's own figures - it will only cover about £1.5 bn of the annual £160 billion deficit.  And it could even lose us money...

1215: More innuendo from Brown about the Tories and VAT.

1213:
Adam Boulton points out that Brown shouldn't describe the unfinished hospital venue as "Labour's" when, really, all taxpayers' money has contributed to it.  And he adds that it will cost the taxpayer an inflated £2.5 billion because of PFI deals.  The crowd really helps Brown, cheering him as he suggests that the "Tories" are "annoyed" that Labour got to hold their launch in "such a lovely building".

1210:
So Brown will make VAT an election dividing line.  Asked whether he can rule out a VAT rise, he says that the Tories are the only party to raise VAT in the past - and he thinks that their manifesto plans won't add up without a VAT hike.  Doesn't mention Labour's plans.  It's sounding like PMQs.

1209: Brown is trying to caricature the Tories as the party of the past.  He says the Tory manifesto will "defend yesterday".

1208: The crowd boos Nick Robinson as he asks why the Labour manifesto doesn't deal with what government won't be doing - what it will be cutting - in future.

1206: Well, that was shorter than I expected.  Brown finishes by saying "we are building a future fair for all".  He's into questions now.

1205: Brown: "Britain will be progressive or Conservative. It will not be both."

1204: Brown takes on Cameron's claim that the Tory manifesto will be the most "family-friendly" ever, saying that the Tories would cut tax credits.

1203: He's getting into it a bit more now, describing Labour's plans to let public sector workers take over ineffective service providers.  Wonder what Alan Milburn and Tony Blair will make of his claim that "every hospital will be a foundation trust".  I seem to remember that one particular Chancellor got in the way of that before...

1201: Brown isn't really referring to the specifics of the manifesto yet.  It's all a bit "better healthcare, more jobs, less crime," etc.

1200:
An enthusiastic round of applause as Brown mentions an "international tax on banks".

1159:
"We are in the future business," etc.  Good job he didn't say "futures," or he'd sound like one of those horrible bankers...

1158: I've lost count of how many times Brown has said "future" in the first few minutes.  His point is that the Tories want to "remake the country in the image of the past," whereas the Labour manifesto is all about "the future".  After 13 years in government, he'll struggle to get this message across.

1155:
Here's Brown now.  He starts, predictably, by nodding towards the hospital surroundings - claiming that the expansion of the NHS s Labour's achievements.

1152:
I've just had a very quick flick through the manifesto itself - and, at first glance, there's little that we haven't heard before.  Strikingly, the first section is on the "tough choices" that Labour are making on the public finances: £15 bn efficiency savings this year, cutting the deficit in half over four years, that kind of thing.  Labour trying to put fiscal responsibility at the heart of their pitch.  Whether they'll succeed is another matter altogether.

1151: 
Here's Harriet...

1149:
They're showing one of the animated films now.  A nice idea, but I'm not sure about the execution.  All a bit Innocent Smoothie...

1147: The self-styled Stiletto Socialist Ellie Gellard is introducing Brown.  Her central point is how the internet is changing politics - and that the release of Labour's manifesto will reflect this.  You can, for instance, watch "animated manifesto films" on this page.  Joy.

1145: Big Cheer for Brown as he enters the room

1142: And Brown is arriving now, with a little coterie in tow - including Sarah Brown. Wonder whether she'll introduce him...

1141: Ed Balls and Alistair Darling enter together. This is really quite a convoluted process.

1138: Labour figures being applauded as they enter the room. Ed Miliband, Alan Johnson, Peter Mandelson and Harriet Harman have just wadered through.

1135:
Put on your sunglasses. Here's the front cover:

1134:
Event still hasn't started. But you can download all 76 pages of the manifesto here.

1130: Laura Kuenssberg tweets that the hospital site where Labour are launching their manifesto is "still owned by the firm that built it so the party is not breaking any rules."  But the site is clearly meant to send a "Party of the NHS" type message.

1128:
Labour's event in Birmingham hasn't kicked off yet - but you can watch it here when it does.

Stay tuned for coverage from 1130.