General election: Jeremy Corbyn facing immigration policy bust-up as Labour finalise manifesto | Politics News


Jeremy Corbyn is facing a bust-up over immigration policy as senior MPs, party officials and union leaders meet to agree Labour’s election manifesto.

Some of Mr Corbyn’s closest allies, including the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, want Labour to back freedom of movement after the UK leaves the EU.

But the Labour leader’s chief trade union cheerleader, Len McCluskey of Unite, is demanding curbs on free movement to protect jobs and maintain levels of pay for UK workers.

DURHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Len McCluskey, leader of Unite addresses the crowd during the 135th Durham Miners Gala on July 13, 2019 in Durham, England. Over two decades after the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield the Miners Gala or Big Meeting as it is known locally remains as popular as ever with close to 200,000 people expected to attend this year. The gala forms part of the culture and heritage of the area and represents the communal values of the North East of England. The gala sees traditional colliery brass bands march through the city ahead of their respective pit banners before pausing to play outside the County Hotel building where union leaders, invited guests and dignitaries gather before they then continue to the racecourse area for a day of entertainment and speeches. Beginning in 1871 the gala is the biggest trade union event in Europe and is part of an annual celebration of socialism. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Durham Miners’ Association. The gala is hosted by the DMA who also provide a range of services for its members, made up from former Durham miners, including compensation claims, benefit information, tribunal representation and legal advice. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
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Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, is at odds with members of the shadow cabinet over free movement

The dispute will be thrashed out at a so-called Clause V meeting of the shadow cabinet, national executive and senior union leaders to decide what goes into the manifesto and what stays out.

Speaking on the eve of the meeting, Mr Corbyn told Labour activists in Lancaster: “When our manifesto arrives next week it’s going to blow your socks off. You’re going to love it.”

The row over free movement follows a strongly pro-migration motion calling for it to be extended beyond EU citizens being passed at Labour’s conference in September.

This week Mr McCluskey set the scene for a showdown at the manifesto meeting by declaring: “It’s wrong in my view to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter labour market regulation.”

In an uncompromising interview with The Guardian, he said the motion passed at the Brighton conference was not a “sensible approach” and that he planned to express that view at Saturday’s meeting.

But Ms Abbott later hit back in a defiant tweet, saying Labour would “maintain” the rights of EU nationals in the UK and extend freedom of movement rights “to all those legally entitled to be here, including our own citizens”.

                               MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Home Secretary, Priti Patel addresses the delegates on the third day of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central on October 1, 2019 in Manchester, England. Despite Parliament voting against a government motion to award a recess, Conservative Party Conference still goes ahead. Parliament will continue with its business for the duration. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Home Secretary Priti Patel has promised that the Tories will cut down on free movement

Mr Corbyn hinted at a climbdown or compromise on Thursday when he said Labour’s manifesto would not include “necessarily every last dot and comma of every resolution passed at conference”.

He has been challenged by the Liberal Democrats to make a clear manifesto commitment on immigration – the party says it would be a “betrayal of future generations” if he fails to do so.

The Lib Dems are promising to preserve free movement and have plans to resettle 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children per year if they get into power.

Another radical Labour policy passed in Brighton, incorporating private schools into the state system, is expected to be considerably weakened when it appears in the manifesto.

But policies definitely in the manifesto will be:

  • Brexit: negotiating a new deal with the EU and submitting it to a referendum within six months.
  • Nationalisation: BT Openreach, railways, Royal Mail, water and National Grid.
  • Workers’ rights: a return to collective bargaining.
  • Four-day week: a target of achieving this by 2030.
  • Zero-hours contracts: banned.
  • Climate change: the aim of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
  • Shares: an “inclusive ownership fund” for employees.


Shadow chancellor John McDonell







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Coinciding with the Clause V meeting in London, Labour is stepping up its attack on the Tories on the NHS, claiming analysis reveals that staff are working a million hours of unpaid overtime every week because of under-staffing.

Labour says the most recent NHS staff survey shows nearly 270,000 staff said they worked extra hours for free every week – at an average of 2.3 hours a week – and two thirds said their organisation had not enough staff for them to do their job properly.

Doctors and dentists between them worked 125,000 hours a week (an average of 3.6 hours), allied health professionals such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists worked 210,000 (an average of 2.2 hours), and nurses worked 380,000 (an average of three hours).

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth used the figures to take a swipe at Boris Johnson, who is out on the campaign trail again in his new battle bus.



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The prime minister is reviving a David Cameron slogan, “Vote Blue, Go Green”, promising a trebling of tree-planting to at least 30 million and creating a new £500m Blue Planet fund to protect the oceans.

Existing woodland like the Northern Forest and Northumberland Forest would be expanded, say the Tories, and new forests would be created across the country. Towns and cities would also benefit with more trees planted in urban areas to improve air quality, they claim.

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Part of a £640m Nature for Climate fund would also be used to restore degraded peatland across the country, turning it from a source of carbon to a means of soaking up carbon, as well as replenishing native wildlife populations.

“There is nothing more conservative than protecting our environment and these measures sit alongside our world-leading commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” the PM said.

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