KEIR Starmer has accused the Government of having “completely lost control” of overall immigration amid speculation net migration could be set to reach record levels.
The Labour leader’s comments are a change from Labour’s usual tune on immigration, with the party previously taking the Government to task over illegal migration only.
But when asked on Friday about reports that net migration to the UK could reach one million people in the last year, Starmer said that would mean the Tories had “completely lost control”.
He said: “I think we need to wait and see what those figures are, but I’ve seen that speculation.
“I think if we’re anywhere near that figure then it will show the Government has completely lost control. We need a managed approach and we haven’t got that.
“Like almost everything else under this Government, there’s no plan, there’s no control and, just like everything else, it seems like the system is broken.”
The Telegraph reported on Friday figures to be released this month revealing the level of net migration to the UK could be nearly double the previous high of 504,000 – set in the year to June last year.
It comes after the blog LabourList obtained what they said was a draft policy agenda which could inform the Labour Party’s 2023 General Election manifesto.
Among other measures to be considered by Labour mandarins are a commitment to end freedom of movement forever, as well as a pledge to “sort out” the points-based immigration system.
A summary of the document posted on the blog read: “Sort out the points-based immigration system so that it ensures the economy has the skills it needs and that prolonged vacancies do not hold back growth in key sectors.”
The Scottish Greens said that Starmer's "lurch to the right and embrace of Tory policies on immigration and human rights should alarm everyone".
MSP Maggie Chapman went on: "It’s increasingly clear that he sees a future Labour government as one that cracks down on the right to protest, continues the hostile environment against migrants and refugees, and undermines Scottish democracy.
“The sooner we get rid of this corrupt Tory government the better, but under Starmer it looks like nothing much would change.
“Scotland should be a nation that benefits economically, socially and culturally by welcoming immigrants from around the world. But we can’t achieve that while legislative power remains with the Tories and what passes for Labour at Westminster.”