Seven Labour MPs have written to party leader Ed Miliband over the immigration to the UK of large numbers of migrants from Eastern Europe.
The seven – Frank Field, Ronnie Campbell, Ian Davidson, Roger Godsiff, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer – sent an open letter raising their concerns about the free movement of people within the EU. They said that the number of Eastern European workers in the UK has risen from an estimated 167,000 10 years ago to around one million in 2012, with the figure set to continue on an upward trend.
The MPs used the letter to urge Mr Miliband to adopt policies to curb the number of migrants moving to the UK, saying they are “willing to perform low-skilled jobs for poverty pay, thereby applying downward pressure on wages”. They added: “We are deeply concerned that this EU open-door immigration policy is having an adverse impact on the very communities that the Labour party was founded to represent.”
The letter claimed that wealthy people had benefited from the arrival of cheap Eastern European labour, but poorer households had suffered because of the extra pressure on affordable housing, hospitals, school places and the transport infrastructure, The Guardian reported.
The MPs said Mr Miliband should “commit the next Labour government, as part of any serious renegotiation of our relationship with the EU, to constraining the free movement of labour from European countries with much lower incomes, thereby removing some of the pressure on wages, welfare, housing and public services in this country”.
The letter comes a week after former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the party should not change its stance towards immigration in the wake of recent election successes by the anti-immigration UK Independence Party.