The Tories have based their cruel immigration policy on divisive myths for too long – it’s time for a different approach

Diane Abbott is the shadow home secretary and Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

It has been widely trailed that Theresa May will announce a clampdown on immigration in her speech to the Conservative conference. Yet again.

Labour and Tory policies could hardly be further apart on key issues of the economy, on the need to rebuild our public services, on housing, on foreign policy and all aspects of home affairs, such as crime and policing. But that diametrical opposition on policies now also includes immigration policy too.

I have set out Labour’s new immigration policy, whereas the government has still not produced its immigration white paper, and we are no closer to knowing what their proposed post-Brexit policy might be.

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The gulf between the Tories and Labour when it comes to the immigration policy our country needs will become even clearer during this conference season. Labour’s new policy is a rational one, based on the needs of our economy and improving our living standards. It is not based on sowing division, chasing cheap headlines and dog-whistle politics.


Is there anything more cynical in British politics than a prime minister, in deep trouble in her own party and with the electorate, who reaches for the tabloid headlines by announcing an “immigration clampdown”? Last week, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent advisory body to government, produced a report demolishing many of the myths peddled about migrants. They don’t take jobs, or drive down wages, reduce training of the existing workforce or put a strain on public services. In fact, they make a net contribution to our economy, to our public services and to our society.

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