Diane Abbott rubbishes Nigel Farage’s Commonwealth immigration claims

Written by Matthew Chapman on 21 June 2016 in Diary

Labour MP questions Nigel Farage's claims about Commonwealth migrants

Diane Abbott has hit out at Nigel Farage for suggesting he wants less European migrants in order to allow more people from the Commonwealth into the country. ​

In a recent ITV debate with David Cameron, the Ukip leader said Britain had been “stupid to turn our backs” on the Commonwealth in favour of the EU.

But the Shadow International Development Secretary said Mr Farage was misleading voters.
“There is no contradiction between being of Commonwealth heritage and voting to Remain and anybody who thinks that Nigel Farage is speaking against European migrants because he just wants to let more Commonwealth migrants into the country hasn’t been paying attention to UKIP,” she told an audience at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.

Labour also rolled out big hitter Alan Johnson at the event as it seeks to energise its membership and encourage them to reject Brexit.

Johnson disputed the commonly-held belief that the 1975 referendum was held to vote purely on membership of a common market, and argued the vote’s mandate was much wider than that.

“I was a postman bringing up three kids on a council estate in 1975,” said Johnson. “I knew what those leaflets said because I had to deliver them.”

Reading from one of the leaflets, Johnson outlined what Harold Wilson’s government had asked the British public to vote on.
“To bring together the peoples of Europe, , to raise living standards and improve working conditions, to promote growth and boost world trade, to help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world, to help maintain peace and freedom,” Johnson read.

Despite Johnson’s more upbeat tone, Jeremy Corbyn continued to strike a more sombre chord as he said he had “many, many criticisms” of the EU.

It followed on from Corbyn stating in a Sky News debate last night that he is “no lover of the EU”. 

The Labour leader also said the party was "very, very ready" for a snap election amid mounting speculation the Conservatives will try to go to the polls before the current parliament is due to end in 2020.
(Image credit: PA)

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