Labour 'set to abandon pledge to extend free movement'

Posted On: 
16th November 2019

Labour looks set to abandon conference policies pledging to extend free movement of people to non-EU countries and give foreign nationals the right to vote in all UK elections. 

Labour adopted the policies at its most recent party conference
PA Images

Both policies are expected to be either “significantly watered down” or removed from the party’s manifesto entirely, according to the Independent. 

The policies were backed at party conference by senior Labour and trade union figures.

Labour promises to introduce free broadband for all if party wins general election

EXPLAINED: The key battle lines ahead of Labour’s crunch manifesto meeting

Boost for Tories as Brexit Party candidate pulls out of key Labour marginal

However, reports suggest internal fears over their popularity in Labour heartlands will see the pledges put to one side. 

One insider source told the paper any extension beyond the current free movement rules would be “insanity” and “electoral suicide”, insisting they would not feature in the final text of the manifesto. 

The Lib Dems called on Mr Corbyn to make a “cast-iron commitment” to maintaining free movement, describing a failure to do so as “a betrayal of future generations”. 

Labour declined to respond to the newspaper, making it unclear what the party’s policy would be going forward. 

The rumours come just days after Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, sought to clarify the party’s position

She tweeted: “The Labour Party is committed to maintaining & extending Freedom of Movement rights. But the Tories will remove those rights from the EU 3 Million. We will maintain them.”

However, less than 48 hours later, Ms Abbott told the Independent: “There are a lot of resolutions passed at party conferences. 

“Not every resolution passed at party conference is going to find its way in its entirety into the manifesto.”