Immigration takes centre stage in debate
As rumours emerge of a split in the Labour Party over immigration, with influential union leader Len McLuskey retaining his longstanding affection for controlled immigration, and shadow ministers urging Jeremy Corbyn to back freedom of movement, Jonathan Ashworth does little to allay fears that Labour are capitulating to the Tories on the issue.
Mr Ashworth, the shadow health and social care secretary, refused to tell Sky News whether the party wanted immigration to go up or down, but did say the NHS should be allowed to recruit internationally.
But the Tories’ plans came under fire also, with the Confederation British Industry’s director general Carolyn Fairbairn describing their plans to only allow the “brightest and best” into the country as “a worry”.
She said: “If you want to build 200,000 houses a year, yuou don’t just need the architects and designers, you need the carpenters, electricians, the labourers. We need people to come and help us rebuild our economy.”
Ms Fairbairn also took aim at Labour, saying the party’s proposed high-cost plans could “crack the foundations of our economy”.
She warned the party needed to ensure it was a friend to business, with many businesses “sitting thinking ‘are we next'”, in the wake of a pledge to nationalise BT.