Shadow secretary refuses to say whether Labour would end freedom of movement

Labour’s shadow secretary for communities and local government has refused to say whether a Labour government’s Brexit deal would end freedom of movement.

The Labour Party wants to negotiate an arrangement where people who live and work in the European Union can continue to do so and EU citizens who live and work in the UK can continue to do so, said Labour’s Andrew Gwynne.

Pushed on whether the Labour Party’s manifesto will pledge that freedom of movement will end, Mr Gwynne added: “I’ll be able to answer more clearly this time next week”.

Mr Gwynne was questioned on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show as to how Labour’s position differs from allowing freedom of movement after being shown a clip of party leader Jeremy Corbyn saying, “I want to make sure that all those European nationals do remain here, can come here, will stay here”.

In response to the clip, Mr Gwynne said: “Well of course these would be bespoke reciprocal arrangements that will allow, for example, British students to access the European education system.”

Pushed further by Mr Marr on Labour’s policy, Mr Gwynne added: “These would be bilateral agreements.”

He added: “There are people who live and work in the European Union who are British citizens, and there are European Union citizens who live and work in the United Kingdom, and what we want to negotiate is an arrangement where that can continue.”

The Labour Party is looking at “reciprocal arrangements” with the EU that would allow British citizens to enjoy some of the freedoms they do now, Mr Gwynne said.

Questioned once more on how the Labour Party’s interpretation of freedom of movement differs from the EU’s definition, Mr Gwynne replied: “Well let’s see what’s in the manifesto after clause five, but I’ve been very clear, we are looking at reciprocal agreements with the EU27 that allow British citizens to enjoy some of the freedoms that they will lose as a result of Brexit.”

Mr Gwynne then refused to confirm or deny whether the Labour Party’s manifesto would repeat the line from its 2017 manifesto which said “freedom of movement will end”.

He said: “Well I’ll be able to answer more clearly this time next week.”

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