Diane Abbott suggests Labour would maintain current migration levels after Brexit

Posted On: 
17th December 2017

Diane Abbott has hinted that migration levels could remain much the same after Brexit under Labour.

Diane Abbott said Labour would listen to business and public services on migration
PA Images

The Shadow Home Secretary said business, schools and the health service "need these eastern European migrants coming here".

It comes after Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said Labour would support the “easy” movement of people after Brexit.

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Asked on the Andrew Marr Show today if Britain would need roughly the same kinds of numbers coming in after Brexit, Ms Abbott suggested they would.

“You should talk to British business and the health service because they are very worried about a collapse in the number of EU migrants coming here,” she said.

“Social care would be in a terrible position. The health service, finance, education…

“So we will be listening, as the Government should be listening, to what business and the public sector says about its needs for labour.”

Asked again if similar migration levels would continue under Labour, she said she was laying out the view of business and public services, adding: "We have to listen to them."

Ms Abbott said Labour would strip out much of the bureaucracy around migration, arguing it would be “good for migrants but it’s also good for business”.

She did however add: “When we leave the single market freedom of movement will fall.”

The latest figures show net migration to Britain fell by 106,000 to 230,000 in the 12 months to June.

Elsewhere, the Hackney MP insisted Labour does not back a second referendum - despite her appearing to say the opposite to constituents and after Mr Starmer failed to rule it out next week.

“The Labour party doesn’t support a second referendum. We’ve never supported it; we don’t now,” she told the show.