Saturday 16 November 2019 3:21 pm

Labour's plans to part-nationalise BT 'illegal under EU law', Conservatives say

Labour’s plans to nationalise BT’s digital arm to provide free internet would be illegal under European Union state aid rules according to the Conservative Party.

The opposition pledged this week to provide the public and businesses throughout the country with free full-fibre broadband by 2030.

Read more: General Election 2019: Labour officials meet to finalise manifesto

But the £20bn plan was met with scepticism by BT, which said it would cost nearer £40bn.

Today the Conservative Party has said it would likely be illegal under EU law too and as such is at conflict with Labour’s desire to remain in the bloc.

“Their intervention will almost certainly fly in the face of EU state aid rules under EU law,” the Conservatives said in a statement. “Corbyn’s broadband plan will almost certainly be illegal under EU law.” 

Leader Jeremy Corbyn has insisted Labour will renegotiate a Brexit deal and then hold a second EU referendum if his party wins the general election on 12 December.

Read more: Four reasons to fear Labour’s free broadband plans

In that campaign Labour has suggested it would back Remain, but the Tories believe staying in the EU would make Labour’s plans to nationalise part of BT impossible.

They added in a statement: “Corbyn’s Labour won’t be able to introduce their scheme unless they ditch their plan to extend Britain’s membership of the EU and abandon their plans to hold a chaotic second referendum.”