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The Labour conference has formally committed itself to the renationalisation of the English rail network as it pledged to oppose another round of “unneeded, unwanted and ill-thought-through privatisation”.

 

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The Labour conference has formally committed itself to the renationalisation of the English rail network as it pledged to oppose another round of “unneeded, unwanted and ill-thought-through privatisation”.

In a significant boost for the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has suffered a series of setbacks over the EU and Trident, Labour’s national executive committee agreed a statement that paves the way for the rolling renationalisation of the rail network.

“Conference opposes another round of unneeded, unwanted and ill-thought-through privatisation,” it said. “We believe there is a better way.”

Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), welcomed the move.

Opening the debate on the NEC statement in a speech from the Labour conference platform, Cortes said: “I’m absolutely delighted that after years and years of campaigning the Labour party has finally seen sense and that we are telling the British people that there is clear red water between us and the Tories when it comes to our railways. We will be running our railways in the interests of passengers and taxpayers.”

The Corbyn camp was delighted with the move, hours before the new Labour leader addressed the conference in Brighton. It showed that Corbyn, who has been forced to clarify his thinking on the EU since his election and who lost a battle to hold a vote on whether Britain should retain Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent, has been able to deliver one of his main pledges made during the Labour leadership contest.

Corbyn’s camp hailed the move. A leadership source said: “Rail has been a symbol of Labour not quite getting it right for years and not cutting through. [Today is] therefore a symbol of a clearer, more popular approach under Jeremy.
“This morning we’ve seen big progressive shifts in rail and housing policy, demonstrating that as the week wears on Labour’s conference is delivering on a new agenda.”

The NEC statement says Labour will set up a rail taskforce that will seek to find a mechanism to:

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