Immigration – Where do Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats stand?

IMMIGRATION is sure to be a hot topic as Britain debates the shape of its post-Brexit future.

But what are the main parties saying about the issue? Here’s what you need to know.

The major parties are yet to make specific pledges on immigration[/caption]

The Conservatives

Home secretary Priti Patel has said the Conservatives would reduce immigration, though stopped short of specifying a target.

“We will reduce immigration overall while being more open and flexible to the highly skilled people we need, such as scientists and doctors,” she said.

“This can only happen if people vote for a Conservative majority government so we can leave the EU with a deal.”

The government led by David Cameron famously failed to meet a pledge made in 2011 to reduce immigration to the “tens of thousands”.


Labour is yet to release its immigration policy, but leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that immigration’s role in filling jobs and and keeping the economy at capacity should be acknowledged.

Speaking to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, he said: “We have to be realistic that in this country we have 40,000 nurse vacancies, we have a great shortage of doctors, we have shortages of many skills, and they cannot be met very quickly because we’re not training enough people, so there’s going to be immigration in the future.”

Asked whether he wanted the current level of immigration to rise or fall, he said: “I want our system to be decent, to be fair, and our services to be properly run and properly staffed.”

He added that past governments had shown setting “arbitrary” targets “simply doesn’t work.”

Senior officials are reported to be divided whether the party should aim to retain free movement after Brexit or back greater controls.

Members at the party’s conference in September voted to maintain freedom of movement.

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are yet to set out a full policy, but are historically strongly in favour of immigration.

Launching her party’s election campaign last week, leader Jo Swinson said: “Immigration is good for our country. It helps our public services.

“We all benefit from people coming here and contributing to our society.”

The party’s constitution also states: “Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries.

“We are committed… to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services.”

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