Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said Labour would seek to reform EU freedom of movement rules if it gains power in the General Election on December 12.
Mr McDonnell insisted the party would pursue a “sensible” migration policy after senior Tory Cabinet minister Michael Gove accused them of being committed to “unlimited and uncontrolled” immigration.
Writing in The Times, Mr Gove highlighted a motion at this year’s Labour Party conference to “maintain and extend free movement rights” – reversing its position at the last election when it said freedom of movement would end when Britain left the EU.
He said the new position was “extreme, dangerous and out of touch with the British people”.
“It would mean massive pressure on public services – creating a shortage of school places, putting a huge strain on the NHS and increasing the demand for housing,” he said.
However, Mr McDonnell said that regardless of whether Britain remained in the EU, a Labour government would seek to reform the existing system to ensure workers’ rights were not undercut.
“There would be a number of reforms that we have put forward and advocated for a number of years – in particular about employment rights protection, so that we see workers themselves are not exploited and they are not used to undercut wages in certain companies – not across the board,” he told Sky News.
“We are looking for reforms in the same way other European countries are – in particular the protection of employment rights.”