Labour Party unclear on future of European Single Market and migration rights currently opened to 4.5m people
LABOUR SHOULD ABANDON its support for free movement across Europe in favour of tighter border controls, according to a group of English and Welsh Labour MPs.
Four leading party members, who all originally backed remaining within the European Union, now say that the Brexit vote represented a voter surge against immigration – and Labour should change its policies to reflect that.
Three of the MPs – Rachel Reeves, Emma Reynolds, and Stephen Kinnock – explained in articles for the Fabian Society that the party should change tack on migration rights in response to the Brexit vote that won in many of Labour’s English and Welsh heartlands.
Reeves, in quotes reported by The Huffington Post, said: “Immigration controls and ending free movement has to be a red line post-Brext – otherwise we we will be holding the voters in contempt.”
Kinnock added: “The referendum had a clear message: the limitless nature of freedom of movement, despite its proven economic benefits, is not socially and politically sustainable.”
Reynolds said that “no future deal [with the EU] can retain free movement of people in its present form” adding that Leave voters had asked for migration to be cut whatever the economic implications.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has warned that a ‘hard Brexit’ risks costing the Scottish economy up to £11.2bn a year, a threat which would increase the necessity of a second independence referendum.
Chucka Umunna, a former favourite to become Labour leader in 2015, also added that the party should oppose freedom of movement despite the economic risks of destroying the country’s current trading relationship with Europe.
“If continuation of free movement we have is the price of single market membership then clearly we couldn’t remain the single market,” Umanna said this week.
Labour, like the Tory Government, are yet to decide how to respond to the Brexit vote.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been critical of the European Single Market, has shied away from the issue in parliament.
The new anti-immigration messages from within the party raises the prospect of cross-party support at Westminster for leaving the single market, which guarantees open trading access for billions of pounds in exports from Scotland and the UK.
Exiting the single market would bring substantial risks for financial services, food & drink, research at universities, and the agriculture sectors.
An end to freedom of movement would also limit the rights for UK citizens who want to live and work across 30 European countries. It would also limit the attractiveness for Europeans to contribute to the UK socially and economically. Currently there are 3.3m EU citizens in the UK, and 1.2m UK citizens living in the EU.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has warned that a ‘hard Brexit’ risks costing the Scottish economy up to £11.2bn a year, a threat which would increase the necessity of a second independence referendum. She has previously stated that continued membership of the single market would be a ‘red line’ issue for Scotland.
Picture courtesy of Labour Party
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