UK Politics

Labour conference: Delegates back call to defend EU free movement

Labour delegates voting

Labour's annual conference has urged Jeremy Corbyn to include a commitment to the free movement of people in the party's next election manifesto.

Labour's 2017 manifesto vowed to end free movement when the UK leaves the European Union.

But delegates in Brighton have voted overwhelmingly to reject that - and to extend migrant rights in other areas.

Mr Corbyn had to miss the final day of conference to head back to Westminster for the resumption of Parliament.

But delegates have continued to debate and vote on policies - and cheered as the motion on extending migrant rights was carried unanimously in a show of hands.

The motion urges Labour to:

  • Defend the right of EU migrants to live and work in the EU under free movement rules
  • Give the vote to all migrants in the UK
  • Reject any immigration system based on quotas, caps, targets or incomes
  • Close all migrant detention centres
  • Guarantee the unconditional right to family reunion visas for migrants from outside the EU
  • End "no recourse to public funds" policies, which prevent some immigrants from claiming benefits
  • Scrap so-called "hostile environment" polices, which restrict access to accommodation and the NHS

Ana Oppenheim, from the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, which put forward the motion, said: "In 2017, it was a source of shame for many activists that our manifesto included ending free movement.

"Now we can move forward not only committed to defending free movement, but to giving migrants the vote."

Vijay Jackson, a delegate from Edinburgh Central, who seconded the motion, said: "This set of policies is nothing less than what every migrant worker deserves and it is Labour's class duty as socialists and internationalists to implement our demands in full."

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