The Labour Party made mistakes with their immigration policy during their stay in power, according to Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper during a talk in Wigan.
The Pontefract and Castleford MP spoke at the the Independent Methodist Church in Atherton on February 18, as dozens of residents were given the chance to submit their questions in the run up to May’s General Election.
In order to solve UK’s immigrations issues, Cooper explained that Labour will not allow foreigners claim benefits for at least two years after entering the country and that it wasn’t ‘racist’ to discuss the idea.
“Labour got some things wrong in government,” the Shadow Home Secretary admitted.
“However, we did introduce the points-based system for non-EU migrants and improved border controls, but we need to go much further.
“Immigration policy is complicated and I don’t think it’s racist to talk about these issues and about stronger border controls.
“You can do that in a way that doesn’t try to divide communities, that doesn’t try to provoke hostility and that doesn’t try to create an arms race of rhetoric.”
The Shadow Health Secretary promised that Labour would not make the same mistakes they did during their tenure in power from 1997-2010, and that the party also vowed to tackle a range of employment issues.
“I am pledging to take stronger action against employment agencies that undercut jobs and wages by only advertising jobs abroad, backed up by stronger enforcement of the minimum wage and scrapping zero hour contracts,” she added.
Bolton West MP Julie Hilling was also in attendance at the talk and was keen to listen to the concerns which had been raised by her constituents about immigration issues within the UK.
She believed that the event had been a beneficial exercise and had addressed some pressing concerns.
“It was really useful for me and Yvette to sit down with residents listen to the views of local people here in Atherton,” she said.
“Many residents were happy to hear a Labour Government would employ 1000 more border staff funded by extra visa charges – we would also make changes to the way people’s criminal records are checked before they come to the UK.
“Immigration is a very important concern and I believe it is vital to discuss these issues ensuing we take views of local people forward and ensure a future Labour Government takes the issue seriously.”
The Labour MP also added that she will be working in conjunction with the Shadow Health Secretary to ensure that the party had a ‘well-managed’ immigration policy.
The Bolton West MP added: “This event is one of a series of very successful consultation events I have held in Bolton West over the last 12 months which included older people, women, faith groups and businesses.
“It is clear from the event that residents want the Government to have a controlled and well-managed policy on immigration. I will be working with Yvette to make sure a future Labour Government gets it right on this important issue.”
Image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.