Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Labour will have to get used to about-turns on policies it opposed

Yesterday Ed Miliband reiterated his party’s existing policies on immigration for voters, today Yvette Cooper went into further detail about how Labour would address the policy area in government. Like Miliband’s PPB, Cooper’s speech speech to IPPR included an acknowledgement that politicians don’t like to talk about immigration, and a mea culpa. She said Labour should have been quicker to bring in the Australian-style points-based system, that the party should have kept transitional controls for Eastern Europe, and that as a government it should have ‘looked more at the impact, and been ready to talk about problems.

Cooper was heavy on the policy detail, and some of that detail included embracing certain Tory immigration policies, including the cap on tier 2 workers, and restrictions on welfare and public services for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.

But the Conservatives are saying today that in spite of these ideas – many of which deal with how immigrants integrate into society once they are here, and how workers already living here to can ensure they are well-equipped to compete with them – Labour has opposed them on all their measures to bring down immigration.

The party has produced an extensive list of all the occasions on which Labour spokespeople have attacked policies designed to drive down the numbers, some of which Cooper picked up on today. Here’s an example from that list:

Cap on Economic Migration

Public support our policy…

  • More than 4 in 5 of the public and two thirds of Labour voters back the cap. 81 per cent of the public support the Government’s cap on non-EU economic migration, including 69 per cent of Labour voters.

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