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Monday, January 16, 2017

Labour in chaos again

As the Daily Telegraph reports Labour's freedom of movement position is in chaos once again as the shadow foreign secretary said the party will not "die in a ditch" over the policy.

They say that Emily Thornberry made the comments just minutes after Jeremy Corbyn refused to accept that levels of EU migration to Britain were too high. Nor is this the first time that senior Labour politicians have openly contradicted each other in public:

The party's position was in disarray last week after Mr Corbyn indicated on Monday that he was prepared to address the concerns of voters by announcing that his party favoured "reasonably managed migration".

However, when he delivered his speech he changed a key paragraph to say that the party did not "rule out" keeping free movement in exchange for access to the Single Market.

Mr Corbyn's speech had been intended to end the confusion surrounding his stance on migration after bitter clashes with his shadow cabinet.

But in a series of interviews he said that he was not willing to put limits on migration, and suggested he was prepared to accept free movement in return for access to the Single Market.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Ms Thornberry said: “We’re not going to die in a ditch about it, it’s up for negotiation, but Labour’s principle has always been that the economy is the most important thing.

“It’s up to negotiations. Labour’s principle has always been that the economy is the most important thing.”

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Mr Corbyn acknowledged free movement was up for “negotiation”, but added: “Let’s not blame migrants for the problems that we have.”

He added that any Brexit deal “will involve people from Europe working here just as much as there are 2million British people living and working in the European Union.

“Are we going to cut ourselves from Europe completely? I don’t think so.”

Asked whether Labour wanted more control over who comes into Britain, Ms Thornberry said: “We’ve always been in favour of fair rules, and properly managed migration. That’s always been Labour’s policy. So of course we’re likely to have a new policy on migration if we leave the European Union.”

Although these sound like small differences of emphasis they are in fact quite important. Labour's approach to Brexit appears to differ from week to week, spokesperson to spokesperson, even between leader's pronouncments. It is little wonder that they are incapable of providing coherent opposition.
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