KEIR Starmer has claimed victory in the battle over Labour’s next manifesto – but faces criticism over the “chaotic” process from a key trade union.

Speaking at the conclusion of a weekend debate at the party’s national policy forum, a spokesperson for the Labour leader said the party’s policymaking body had endorsed Starmer’s plans for "no unfunded spending commitments".

But Unite, Britain's largest trade union and a key affiliate to the Labour Party, said it could not support the document in its entirety, accusing the party of watering down pledges on workers' rights. 

Rows reportedly broke out at the talks in Nottingham over a push to set the national living wage at £15 per hour, a move said to be backed by Unison, and Starmer’s commitment to adhering to punishing Tory welfare policy.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Labour’s democratic policymaking body has endorsed Keir Starmer’s programme, his five missions for government, and the fiscal rules that he and Rachel Reeves have set out.

“This is a serious, credible and ambitious policy programme that lays the groundwork for an election-winning manifesto and a mission-driven Labour government that will build a better Britain.

“There are no unfunded spending commitments in the document.

“This weekend is another proof point that shows that Keir Starmer has changed the Labour Party and is ready to change the country in government built on the rock of economic responsibility and strong fiscal rules.”

In a statement, Unite said: “Unite was unable to back the document in full as it clearly crossed the union’s red lines including around workers’ rights in collective bargaining — an area which needs root-and-branch change, not just tinkering around the edges.

“The process in Nottingham was also chaotic with an attempt to push through changes to the policy document without first sharing them with conference participants, including Unite.

“As in any negotiation, you simply don’t sign up to something without all the detail and understanding the impact on our members and workers more widely.

“As the General Election draws nearer, Keir Starmer has to prove Labour will deliver for workers and we need clear policies on this.”

Starmer has won over his internal critics in the battle over keeping the two-child benefit cap, introduced by Tory former chancellor George Osborne during his austerity drive.

READ MORE: ‘I don’t eat sometimes’: Scottish parents describe impact of two-child benefit cap

The BBC reported the policy documents agreed at the forum would include a get-out clause for the shadow chancellor to axe any policies which do not meet her iron-clad fiscal rules.

It was reported trade unions walked out of the talks in frustration during Saturday's discussions. 

Addressing the forum on Saturday, Starmer said the party needed to show “historic levels of effort, discipline and focus” ahead of a likely election next year.

He said: “We’ve got to ask ourselves seriously – are our priorities the priorities of working people?

“Or are they just baggage that shows them we don’t see the country through their eyes?”

He added: “‘Tough choices’ is not a soundbite. It is the day-to-day reality we will face if we win power – clearing up their [the Tories’] mess.”