Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Tories accused of 'fake news' after attack on Labour immigration plan

The Conservatives have claimed immigration would ‘surge’ if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, with Labour accusing them of more ‘fake news’.

Labour branded the attack the latest from the Tory Party’s ‘make-believe research department’ and accused Boris Johnson’s party of ‘scapegoating migrants’.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said analysis of new research into Labour’s policy for ‘open borders’ suggests net migration ‘could increase to 840,000 per year if Mr Corbyn is elected as Prime Minister’.

The party claims the analysis is based on official figures and the Government’s own methodology.

But Ms Patel has been criticised as Labour is yet to announce its immigration policy and senior Tories have so far stopped short of making its own post-Brexit immigration commitment.

The Conservatives said the number of people moving into the country in 10 years under Labour ‘is equivalent to the combined populations of Manchester and Newcastle moving to the UK every single year’.

They added: ‘This means that levels of net migration would more than treble if Labour introduced their proposals for completely open borders.’

The Tories said the analysis is ‘deliberately cautious and is likely to provide a significant underestimate of net inflows from non-EEA countries under Labour’s plans’.

The party also said maintaining free movement with existing EEA members would result in average net immigration to the UK of 260,000 a year over the next decade.

Ms Patel said: ‘Under Corbyn’s Labour, immigration would surge and put huge strain on schools and our NHS.

‘Jeremy Corbyn has no credible plan for how to deal with the consequences of his open borders policy. The biggest risk to our NHS is Corbyn’s plans for uncontrolled and unlimited immigration, forever.’

She added: ‘By contrast, the Conservatives will get Brexit done, end free movement and introduce an Australian-style points system so that we can control our borders and protect our public services.’

Diane Abbott, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said: ‘This is more fake news from the Conservative Party’s make-believe research department.

‘Unlike the Tories, we won’t scapegoat migrants or deport our own Windrush-generation citizens.

‘The damage done to our society has been through damaging Conservative cuts to our public services, not by EU nationals coming to work in them.’

While shadow business minister Laura Pidcock said the Conservatives had ‘broken every single commitment they’ve ever given’ on immigration.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Ms Pidcock said immigration targets are ‘arbitrary’.

She added: ‘What we are certainly not going to do is put the lives of people on the line here in a General Election campaign.

‘We know actually that migrant labour does not undercut wages, it is exploitative bosses that seek to undermine national agreements – that’s our emphasis.’

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