Major splits emerged within Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench today over Labour’s immigration policy as the new Shadow Brexit Secretary said numbers must be cut.
Just two days after being appointed to Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet Sir Keir Starmer admitted migration levels to the UK had been too high over the last decade – a direct contradiction to the Labour leader’s view.
In his set-piece speech to Labour conference last month, Mr Corbyn said he would not seek controls on immigration as said accused the Tory government of ‘fanning the flames of fear’, while his spokesman said the veteran leader is ‘not concerned about numbers’.
Sir Keir, the former director of public prosecutions, also failed to give a full endorsement of Mr Corbyn in a further sign of trouble for Mr Corbyn after he faced a major backlash for sacking his chief whip Dame Rosie Winterton and offering just a handful of his critics a role in his new Shadow Cabinet.
And Mr Corbyn faced yet more chaos today as two of his whips resigned. Conor McGinn and Holly Lynch quit following the Labour leader’s decision to sack the party’s highly-respected chief whip Dame Rosie Winterton in his controversial reshuffle.
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Just two days after being appointed to Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet Sir Keir Starmer (pictured on the Andrew Marr Show today) admitted migration levels to the UK had been too high over the last decade – a direct contradiction to the Labour leader’s view
Asked if Mr Corbyn would make a ‘good Prime Minister,’ Sir Keir told the Andrew Marr Show today: ‘Well look, we’ve had a leadership election, Jeremy won that, we accept it and we respect it.
‘We’ve had three months of internal division; everybody – on either side of the leadership debate – has hated that division over the last three months.
‘We now need to pull together and work to have the most effective opposition that we can.
‘Of course we want a Labour government, of course we want to support Jeremy to that end.
‘He’s won the membership, he now needs to win the country – he knows that, we know that and we need to work together on that.’
Sir Keir, who stormed out of Mr Corbyn’s frontbench in protest at his lacklustre performance during the EU referendum campaign, said the Government must be ‘shrewd and careful’ in getting the right balance between ending freedom of movement and maintaining trade links with Brussels.
Sir Keir Starmer (pictured on the Andrew Marr Show this morning), the former director of public prosecutions, also failed to give a full endorsement of Mr Corbyn in a further sign of trouble for Mr Corbyn after he faced a major backlash for sacking his chief whip Dame Rosie Winterton and offering just a handful of his critics a role in his new Shadow Cabinet
In his set-piece speech to Labour conference last month, Jeremy Corbyn (pictured at the Labour part yconference in Liverpool last month) said he would not seek controls on immigration as said accused the Tory government of ‘fanning the flames of fear’, while his spokesman said the veteran leader is ‘not concerned about numbers’
But in a major departure from Mr Corbyn on immigration, he said: ‘There has been a huge amount of immigration over the last 10 years and people are understandably concerned about it.
‘I think it should be reduced and it should be reduced by making sure we have the skills in this country that are needed for the jobs that need to be done.’
Sir Keir also endorsed fresh demands by MPs to be given a vote on the terms of Brexit.
Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, is considering tabling an urgent question in the Commons tomorrow to try to force Theresa May to guarantee Parliament a role in Brexit negotiations.
Conor McGinn (left) and Holly Lynch (right) resigned today following the Labour leader’s decision to sack the party’s highly-respected chief whip Dame Rosie Winterton on Friday, which sparked widespread condemnation from moderate MPs
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) was ‘going to sack Conor McGinn anyway,’ Labour sources said after the Labour leader blamed him for orchestrating the failed coup in the summer
He is leading a cross-party group of MPs in claiming that June’s Brexit referendum was not a vote to leave the EU’s single market and MPs should therefore be given a veto because of ‘the importance of these decisions for the UK economy’.
Sir Keir, tipped as a future Labour leader himself, said MPs should be given a vote on Mrs May’s opening negotiating terms when she triggers Article 50, the formal process for leaving the EU.
He insisted the referendum was ‘clear and has to be accepted’ but added: ‘There has to be democratic grip of the process. At the moment the Prime Minister M is trying to do is manoeuvre without any scrutiny.
‘That is why the terms on which we are going to negotiate absolutely have to be put to a vote in the house.’
He was speaking shortly before Labour descended into fresh chaos with the resignations of Mr McGinn and Ms Lynch.
Mr Corbyn will fill their vacancies ‘in due course’ but deals a blow to his leadership after he thought he had finished completing his latest reshuffle.
And in a sign of further infighting a Labour source close to the veteran leader said Mr McGinn ‘was going to get sacked anyway’ after Mr Corbyn blamed him for orchestrating the failed coup against him in the summer.
Pro-Europe MPs led by Ed Miliband plot fresh bid to BLOCK Brexit, claiming voters did NOT want to leave the single market
MPs are plotting a fresh bid to block Brexit by claiming any deal that takes Britain out of the EU’s single market should be first voted on by Parliament.
Remarkably, the cross-party group of pro-EU MPs – including senior Tories – claim that June’s Brexit vote was not a decision to leave the single market.
Ed Miliband, who is leading the demands, says Parliament must not be overlooked because of ‘the importance of these decisions for the UK economy’.
The former Labour leader said it would be an ‘outrage’ if Mrs May decided the terms of Brexit without first asking MPs. Sir Keir Starmer, the new Shadow Brexit Secretary, backed the move, demanding Theresa May holds a Commons vote on the terms of her opening hand in negotiations with the EU.
Ed Miliband (pictured), who is leading the demands, says Parliament must not be overlooked because of ‘the importance of these decisions for the UK economy’
Mr Miliband has held talks with Conservative MPs and they are considering tabling an urgent question in the Commons demanding that Theresa May appears before MPs tomorow to explain Parliament’s role in Brexit negotiations.
But Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said their demands ‘typifies the disdain that the liberal elite has for voters’.
‘They prefer the tyranny of the bien pensants to democracy,’ he told MailOnline.
Fellow Tory MP Peter Bone said ‘everybody knew the consequences’ of a Brexit vote and the likelihood that leaving the EU would mean quitting the single market. ‘The Remain campaign made that very clear,’ Mr Bone told MailOnline.
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured) said demands from MPs to be given a veto on Britain leaving the EU’s single market ‘typifies the disdain that the liberal elite has for voters’
And Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, accused Mr Miliband of being ‘spectacularly out of touch with his own constituents,’ pointing out that his north Doncaster seat saw one of the biggest votes for Brexit in the country.
The latest attempts by MPs to change the terms of the historic June 23 referendum – which saw the biggest turnout in any UK election for more than two decades – comes after last week’s Tory conference signalled the Government is pursuing a ‘hard-Brexit’ that would take Britain out of the single market in order to end free movement of people.
The vocal pro-European group includes former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, former Tory ministers Nicky Morgan and Anna Soubry, as well as SNP and Green MPs, who were all part of the failed campaign to keep Britain in the EU.
Mr Miliband told the Observer: ‘Having claimed that the referendum was about returning sovereignty to Britain, it would be a complete outrage if May were to determine the terms of Brexit without a mandate from parliament.
‘There is no mandate for hard Brexit, and I don’t believe there is a majority in parliament for [it] either. Given the importance of these decisions for the UK economy … it has to be a matter for MPs.’
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Sir Keir accused Mrs May of failing to put the country first, telling the PM: ‘Put the terms exit in front of the House and have a vote on it.’
Nick Clegg (pictured), who is in charge of the Lib Dem’s policy on Brexit, said it ‘would not be remotely acceptable’ to bypass Parliament on the terms of Brexit
And Mr Clegg, who is in charge of the Lib Dem’s policy on Brexit, said it ‘would not be remotely acceptable’ to bypass Parliament on the terms of Brexit.
But their calls to be given a vote on ‘hard-Brexit’ are likely to fall on deaf ears in Downing Street after Mrs May used her first speech to Tory party conference as Prime Minister to condemn the metropolitan elite for sneering at millions of ordinary Britons over immigration.
So far she has only committed to a parliamentary vote on repealing the 1972.
The department for exiting the European Union insisted MPs will be consulted and engaged throughout negotiations but refused to commit to giving Parliament a vote on the terms of leaving.
Conservative MP Philip Davies (pictured) lashed out at Remain MPs demanding a veto on the terms of leaving the EU, saying it is ‘time for pro-EU fanatics to accept the result of the referendum’
Conservative MP Philip Davies lashed out at Remain MPs demanding a veto on the terms of leaving the EU, saying it is ‘time for pro-EU fanatics to accept the result of the referendum’.
He told MailOnline: ‘Everyone made their arguments during the campaign – including what the consequences of leaving were – and the British people made their decision.
‘Ed Miliband ought to reflect on the fact that one of the biggest votes to leave the EU came in his Doncaster North constituency.
‘Not only is he spectacularly out of touch with his own constituents, he now wants to treat them with contempt.
‘As someone who was brought up in his constituency and with family members who still live there, I think he ought to consider packing in at the next election as the MP there. He clearly wouldn’t recognise a working class voter if he tripped over one and is completely out of touch with the people he is supposed to represent.’
Mr Bone, MP for Wellingborough, said the Remain campaign had made it very clear itself during the referendum campaign that a vote to leave the EU was also a vote to leave the single market.
‘Everybody knew the consequences of the referendum and the Remain campaign made it very clear,’ he told MailOnline.
‘The economy will be destroyed, the stock market will crash, house prices will fall – all that kind of stuff that hasn’t come true,’ he said of the Remain campaign’s warnings of leaving the single market.
‘The crucial issue was free movement – that was by a country mile the number one issue about the referendum.
‘Everybody knew that the likelihood would be that you couldn’t stay in the single market and end freedom of movement,’ Mr Bone added.
In another remarkable intervention, business leaders said any deal that would end a close economic relationship with Europe should be ruled out ‘under any circumstances’.
In an open letter, the Confederation of british Industry and engineering industry body EEF warn ministers not to pursue a trading deal that would adopt World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which they say would slap on crippling tariffs to 90 per cent of UK exports.
The WTO rules would add 20 per cent in extra costs for the UK’s food and drink industry and 10 per cent tariffs on British cars.
The business leaders write: ‘We respect the result of the referendum, but the government must make sure that the terms of the deal to leave ensure stability, prosperity and improved living standards.’
A source at the Department for Exiting the European Union said: ‘Parliament voted by six to one to give people the final say on EU membership in the referendum held on 23 June. While there can therefore be no attempt to keep Britain in the EU by the back door, we have been clear that parliament will be consulted and engaged throughout the process of exit.
‘We will introduce a Great Repeal bill to end the authority of EU law and we have been clear that we will follow all the constitutional and legal precedents that apply to any treaty on a new relationship with the EU.’