As the General Election campaigns really kick into gear, UK immigration is expected to be a hot topic for all the parties. But Labour has come under criticism from within its own party for its approach to immigration controls.
Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, posted online an image of the party's 'Pledge 4 Mug' which aims to underline Labour's promise to introduce controls on immigration.
Her accompanying post on Twitter read: “This shameful mug is an embarrassment. But real problem is that immigration controls are one of our 5 pledges at all.”
A spokesman for the party commented on her remarks: “Labour has five election pledges. This is one of the election pledges.”
Labour had been more 'on the fence' regarding immigration up until recently. More right-wing parties, namely UKIP and the Conservatives, have long since pledged to reduce UK immigration numbers. However, after overseeing the open European borders under Tony Blair, the party is now starting to move more in line with the other parties.
In fact, they have pledged to extend the period that EU jobseekes must wait before they are able to claim 'out of work' benefits from its current level of three months up to at least two years.
Labour has also committed to limiting in-work benefits paid to EU migrants in order to take on employers who rely on low-skilled immigrant labour.
Diane Abbott is not the only one to have criticised the mug and its symbolic status as a deviation away from the party's previously positive stance on immigration. Left-wing columnist Owen Jones also commented on Twitter: “Fancy a brew in my 'Controls for immigration mug'? Seriously Labour. Scrap your Farage wannabe mugs and give people some bloody hope.”