Now Labour faces free movement backlash as union baron Len McCluskey says Jeremy Corbyn should NOT be kept if Brexit happens

  • Labour splits are deepening over whether to keep free movement after Brexit
  • Unite baron Len McCluskey said he did not believe open borders should stay
  • Crunch meeting of party chiefs this weekend to finalise the election manifesto 

Labour splits on free movement deepened tonight after union baron Len McCluskey insisted it should not stay in place if the UK leaves the EU.

Mr McCluskey, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, said the party's official policy of keeping open borders was 'not a sensible approach'. 

The intervention from the Unite head comes ahead of a crunch meeting of party chiefs this weekend to finalise the election manifesto.  

Activists at Labour conference voted this autumn to make its formal position to 'maintain and extend free movement rights'. 

But Mr Corbyn has repeatedly refused to say whether he will try to restrict free movement from the EU as part of another renegotiation with Brussels if he wins power. 

Len McCluskey
Jeremy Corbyn

Len McCluskey (left), a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn (right in Glasgow today), said the party's official policy of keeping open borders was 'not a sensible approach'

Mr McCluskey told the Guardian today: 'We will have to see what's in the manifesto but I don't think (keeping free movement) is a sensible approach and I will be expressing that view.' 

The party's 2017 general election manifesto said 'freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union'. 

Shadow cabinet minister Andrew Gwynne deepened the confusion over the weekend as he refused to say whether the party will keep its commitment to end freedom of movement. 

Mr Gwynne, shadow communities secretary and Labour's election campaign coordinator, would not be drawn during an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show on whether the pledge will be included in the new manifesto. 

Mr Gwynne's failure to commit to keeping the promise sparked renewed concern among Leave-voting Labour supporters as the general election on December 12 draws near. 

The Tories are upping their attack on Labour over free movement after strategists identified it as a major dividing line between the parties. 

In an article for The Times this weekl, Brexit minister Michael Gove said: 'Labour is now explicitly in favour of unlimited and uncontrolled immigration. 

'And Nicola Sturgeon is their staunchest ally. The Corbyn-Sturgeon policy is extreme, dangerous and out of touch with the British people. 

'It would mean massive pressure on public services - creating a shortage of school places, putting a huge strain on the NHS and increasing demand for housing. 

'It would also mean Britons are less safe, as a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance wouldn't put in place the controls necessary to stop criminals crossing our borders.'

Earlier this week Michael Gove (pictured) upped the attack on Labour over free movement, after Tory strategists identified it as a major dividing line between the parties

Earlier this week Michael Gove (pictured) upped the attack on Labour over free movement, after Tory strategists identified it as a major dividing line between the parties

 

 

Len McCluskey says free movement should NOT stay after Brexit

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