Bristol’s Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has accused Labour of a ‘bewildering array of views’ on freedom of movement. In a speech today, Jeremy Corbyn said he is not wedded to freedom of movement as a matter of principle, while Deputy leader, Tom Watson has called for tighter immigration controls as part of any Brexit deal. Meanwhile, former leadership contestant Owen Smith, has said it was right to be pro-immigration, even if it meant losing votes.
Molly, who is the parliamentary candidate for Bristol West and the Green Party spokesperson on EU relations, said:
“The bewildering array of views on free movement within Labour reveals how deeply divided the Party is. With eyes fixed squarely on the forthcoming by-election in Copeland, and on its northern heartlands, Labour is adopting different messages to different audiences. Just like the Conservatives, Labour have no clear Brexit plan and simply cannot be trusted.
“Corbyn’s support for freedom of movement for goods but not people is an attempt to have your cake and eat it. But such an approach, adopted by both Tories and Labour, resembles a mad hatter’s tea party; it’s farcical nonsense.
“From where I am sitting in the European Parliament, it is clear that other EU members will never accept a pick-and-mix approach. Labour are pandering to those who have a prejudice against the free movement of people and this will force the UK out of the single market. It is astonishing that Labour are unwilling to defend the terms of membership of this market on which thousands of jobs and livelihoods depend and which offers protections for both workers and consumers.
“There is a place for a discussion on free movement but that place is inside the EU. Such discussions over whether there should be an adjustment to this principle are already taking place. But for the sake of safeguarding the essential principles of the EU, changes will need to be agreed by all EU countries.”
Molly says that the Green Party stands united in defence of the principle of freedom of movement:
“As Greens, we will work hard to defend the rights of all people wherever in the EU they live or choose to live. In particular, we want any Brexit deal to guarantee that young people, who voted overwhelmingly to remain part of the EU, continue to enjoy freedom to travel, study and work across Europe.”
See more about the guarantees Molly wants met as part of any Brexit deal.