Miliband in immigration law pledge


Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Ed Miliband has said a Labour government would immediately bring in an immigration Bill as he insisted people’s fears can be addressed without risking Britain’s EU membership.

The Opposition leader pledged legislation in the first Queen’s Speech after the general election as he campaigned in Rochester & Strood ahead of next month’s by-election.

Outlining five proposed changes, he said all public-facing state employees would be required to have a basic standard of English.

Recruitment agencies would be banned from only hiring abroad, and companies employing people from outside the EU would have to create an apprenticeship.

There would also be a specific law against bringing in foreign workers to undercut wages in the UK, and a reintroduction of “counting in and counting out” at borders.

But speaking to Labour supporters in Chatham, Mr Miliband said he was also clear about what he “will not do”.

“False promises on immigration just make people more cynical about politics,” he said. “I will not be part of that.”

Mr Miliband said he knew the EU “needs to change if we are to deal with the problems of immigration”.

“We will seek change in Europe for longer transitional controls when new countries join the EU,” he said.

“Stopping child benefit and child tax credits being paid to kids living abroad.

“Doubling the period before people would be entitled to benefits. And stronger rules to deal with foreign criminals.”

But he highlighted David Cameron’s failure to hit the target of bringing net annual immigration down to tens of thousands.

“I will not make promises I cannot keep,” he said. “I will never propose a policy or a course of action that would damage our country.

“Nigel Farage wants to leave the EU, on which three million British jobs and thousands of businesses in our country depend …

“Now David Cameron is also saying he is ready to leave the EU and have Britain turn its back on the rest of the world.”

Mr Miliband declared: “I will not be a prime minister that puts either those jobs and businesses or our national interest at risk.

“Labour offers real change right now, not damage to our country.”

The speech comes with less than a month to go until the by-election triggered by Mark Reckless after he defected from the Tories to Ukip.

A new poll has suggested Mr Reckless is on track to retain his seat on November 20, with 43% support to 30% for the Conservatives. Labour are trailing on 21%.

In a direct appeal to traditional Labour voters not to shift allegiance to Nigel Farage’s Ukip, Mr Miliband said: “If you want a party for working people, then vote Labour in this by-election, for clear, credible and concrete change.”

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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