Labour hardens position on UK immigration

13 Oct 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

More restrictions on the rights of immigrants coming to the UK to claim benefits would receive the backing of the Labour party, according to its deputy leader Harriet Harman.

Mrs Harman spoke out after UKIP won its first seat in Parliament in last week’s Clacton by-election and reduced Labour’s majority in the Heywood and Middleton by-election to fewer than 700 votes.

She said that Labour is looking at potentially asking that migrants coming to the UK “earn the right” to certain benefits and that the party has concerns about how immigration to the UK is affecting public services and workers’ salaries, the BBC reported.

Labour is expected to announce a number of new policies on immigration in the next few weeks, which it would plan to implement if it wins next year’s General Election. The party is understood to be concerned about the threat that UKIP poses to its seats in the North of England.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that he backs the introduction of a points-based system to decide who should be allowed to obtain UK visas. The Conservative politician also said the Government should be able to qualify rights for European migrants who wanted to come to work in the UK.

If the UK cannot negotiate this as part of the EU, the country should consider leaving, he said.

"If we can continue to have access to European markets and if we can continue to be part of the great free trade zone, then there is a viable future for our country with a different arrangement," said Mr Johnson.

He did admit that the capital has benefited from the effects of immigration but he said he supported a new points-based system similar to those used in Australia and the US.