Labour activists vote in favour of ‘maintaining and extending’ freedom of movement after Brexit as critics claim Jeremy Corbyn wants ‘unlimited immigration’
- Labour delegates today voted for party to ‘maintain and extend’ free movement
- Pledge could now be included in Labour Party’s next general election manifesto
- Critics claimed it showed Jeremy Corbyn wants ‘uncontrolled mass immigration’
- Home Secretary Priti Patel claimed Labour ‘doesn’t believe in immigration limits’
Labour activists have voted in favour of ‘maintaining and extending’ freedom of movement after Brexit as critics claimed Jeremy Corbyn wanted ‘completely uncontrolled mass immigration’.
Mr Corbyn vowed to end freedom of movement after Brexit in the party’s 2017 general election manifesto.
But Labour delegates attending the final day of the party’s annual conference in Brighton today backed a motion demanding to tear up that approach.
They want the Labour leadership to include a series of pro-immigration pledges in the party’s next manifesto instead.
Senior Labour sources have repeatedly said that Mr Corbyn will abide by decisions made by the party’s conference.
But adopting such a stance will put him on a collision course with many Leave voters who backed quitting the EU in order to tighten up the UK’s border controls.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said the decision showed that Mr Corbyn ‘does not believe in any limits on immigration’.
Jeremy Corbyn, pictured in the House of Commons today, has been told by Labour activists that the party’s next manifesto must include a pledge to ‘maintain and extend’ free movement after Brexit
The Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton continued today despite the fact that Parliament has resumed sitting and many MPs have returned to London
The final day of Labour conference was set up to be something of a damp squib after many MPs rushed back to Westminster as Parliament resumed sitting following the Supreme Court ruling yesterday that Boris Johnson’s prorogation was unlawful.
But delegates who remained behind used the opportunity to try to force the Labour leadership to dramatically shift its stance on post-Brexit immigration.
The motion passed by delegates states that ‘free movement, equality and rights for migrants are socialist values and benefit us all’.
It said that ‘ending free movement and attacking migrants’ rights are attacks on all workers’.
It calls for Labour to ‘campaign for free movement’ at the next general election and to ‘reject any immigration system based on incomes, migrants’ utility to business, and number caps/targets’.
It also advocates closing all immigration detention centres and giving all migrants the ‘unconditional right to family reunion’.
It states that Labour must ‘maintain and extend free movement rights’.
A Labour source told MailOnline that the party’s conference is ‘sovereign’ when it comes to decision-making in a clear hint that Mr Corbyn will include the policies in his next manifesto.
The 2017 Labour manifesto said: ‘Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.’
Ms Patel said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn does not believe in any limits on immigration.
‘Corbyn’s Labour even wants to extend free movement to more countries and allow potentially dangerous illegal immigrants to roam our streets.
‘The British people voted to take back control. It’s only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives who will deliver Brexit by 31 October and end free movement once and for all.’
Alp Mehmet, the chairman of the Migration Watch UK think tank, said: ‘This is a foolhardy call for completely uncontrolled mass immigration as well as for the dismantling of any effective means of removal.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary pictured on September 15, criticised the vote by Labour delegates and said that the EU referendum showed people wanted tighter border controls
‘Thirty million UK adults – or 60 per cent – wish to see immigration reduced.
‘If these reckless policies ever reach the statute book, we will all rue the day, especially the most vulnerable in our society.’
But the Best for Britain pro-EU campaign group welcomed the move.
CEO Naomi Smith said: ‘This is a significant move from Labour members to champion rather than fear immigration.
‘They know this deal works both ways. Brits get to work and live in the EU, and EU citizens contribute to our economy and culture.
‘Freedom of movement is a key pillar of EU membership. Labour members have made it very clear that they want to remain in the EU, not leave.’