Tuesday, August 13, 2013

British Labour Party 'made mistakes' by opening borders to influx of EU workers, Chris Bryant admits

The Labour Party 'made mistakes' on immigration by going it alone and opening Britain's borders to a huge influx of migrant workers, Chris Bryant admitted today.

Labour's shadow immigration minister said the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were too slow to introduce a points-based system aimed at curbing the number of low-skilled people flocking to the UK.

But the opposition's current policy on immigration was mired in confusion today as Mr Bryant embarrassingly  Bryant backtracked on criticism of two of Britain's biggest retailers.

He had planned to use a major speech today to attack Tesco and Next for using cheap migrant labour to undercut local people.

But after the retail giants hit back, the former Labour foreign minister went into reverse, declaring: 'I fully accept that Next and Tesco indeed often go the extra mile to try and recruit more local workers.'

However, in his speech Mr Bryant did finally lay bare the last government's failure to get a grip on immigration, leading to thousands more people moving to the UK than other EU countries.

He admitted: 'Labour made mistakes on immigration. When we came to power in 1997 we had to tackle the complete chaos in the asylum system, when just fifty members of staff were dealing with 71,000 asylum applications every year.

'Labour created the position of Immigration Minister to bring real focus to these issues right across government. 'But although we were right to introduce the points based system in 2008, we should have done that far earlier.  'And when the new A8 countries joined the EU we were so focused on economic growth that when Germany, France and Italy all put in transitional controls on new EU workers, we went it alone.  'The result? A far higher number of people came to work here.'

It has placed Labour at the centre of a new ‘British jobs for British workers row’ over claims big firms deliberately target immigrant workers at the expense of British staff.

In his speech Mr Bryant planned to attack ‘unscrupulous employers’ who seem to ‘deliberately exclude British people’, instead taking on cheaper staff from Eastern Europe.

But in a BBC interview dealing with the political storm triggered by pre-released extracts of the speech, he insisted he was not planning to name any ‘unscrupulous employers’ at all.

He planned to accuse Next of printing job adverts only in Polish to attract cheap labour, and say Tesco moved a distribution centre from Harlow in Essex to ‘Kent’, where a ‘large percentage’ of the staff are from the eastern bloc.

But his attempt to grab the initiative on immigration backfired spectacularly after both the clothes retailer and the supermarket chain denied the claims made in previewed sections of his speech.

Notably, Tesco does not even have a depot in Kent - and Mr Bryant claimed he did not know how the error had found its way into his speech.

And Next said the only reason it employs workers from Poland is because local people refuse to apply for seasonal work.  A spokesman for Next said: 'Mr Bryant wrongly claims that Polish workers are used to save money.

'This is simply not true. We are deeply disappointed Mr Bryant did not bother to check his facts with the company before releasing his speech.'

The policy mess is particularity embarrassing for Labour coming at a time when leader Ed Miliband is under fire from his own MPs for failing to make clear to voters where he stands on the big issues of the day.

The spat will also revive memories of Gordon Brown’s first speech as Prime Minister, in which he reacted to uncontrolled migration from Eastern Europe by promising ‘British jobs for British workers’ – a pledge he could not keep.

But Tory Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: 'Labour still won’t say sorry for the uncontrolled immigration they allowed, they still won’t say that immigration is too high and they still won’t say that numbers need to come down.

'This badly confused speech shows that Labour haven’t changed. They still have no idea how they would bring numbers down and they have no credibility on immigration.'


Recent posts at CIS  below

See  here for the blog.  The CIS main page is here


1. Commentary: Let There Be Amnesty! The Plan B of the open-borders crowd would dispense with the Constitution


2. Questions for Lawmakers on Immigration

3. The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the Second Quarter of 2013

4. Motivation For Hiring Alien Workers? Hint: It’s Not a Labor Shortage


5. The Speechifying of Charlie Rose and Concerns of an Immigrant's Grandson

6. Soros-Backed Sojourners Pontificates for Amnesty

7. Alleged Murderer Is an Illegal Alien, but Washington Post Won't Say So

8. The GOP's Immigration Leverage; No, Really!

9. Assorted Examples of Overseas Immigration Practices

10. GOP Congressman Calls Illegal Aliens "Undocumented Citizens", Trusts Obama Administration

11. Why President Obama Will Sign Any Reasonable Immigration Bill that Reaches His Desk

12. Investor Visa Program Gets Another Black Eye, This Time from the FBI

13. Aiming for Greatness: President Obama's Accomplishment Gap

14. Prosecutor: Seattle Law Would Shield Illegal Alien Burglars, Arsonists, Bombers

15. President Obama's Immigration Dilemma: Saving a Flailing Presidency

16. Mayorkas Hearing Testimony Subject of Detailed Analysis by Grassley

17. Removing Criminal Aliens and Protecting Public SAFEty

18. Future Headlines if Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is Enacted

19. Warning: Backing Amnesty Is Bad for Your Political Health

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820,  Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076.  Email: center@cis.org. Contact: Marguerite Telford, 202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org.  The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.  The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

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