Labour conference is set to end with split on immigration views

Jeremy Corbyn celebrates his victory following the announcement of the winner in the Labour leadersh

Jeremy Corbyn celebrates his victory following the announcement of the winner in the Labour leadership contest between him and Owen Smith at the ACC Liverpool. Danny Lawson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A row over Labour's stance on immigration looked set to erupt today as the curtain falls on its annual conference in Liverpool.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn will reiterate a pledge to restore a multi-million-pound fund to help communities deal with the impact of immigration, as an aide indicated it was not the leader's objective to reduce the number of migrants coming to the UK.

Voters in many of the party's key target seats in East Anglia voted to leave the European Union, including in Great Yarmouth, where 72pc of those who voted backed Brexit, while in Waveney the vote to leave was 63pc,

And just hours before the Labour leader is due to make his high-profile end-of-conference speech shadow home secretary Andy Burnham will warn the party must 'face up fully' to the fact that millions of its supporters 'voted for change on immigration' in the EU referendum.

Backbencher Rachel Reeves has said this week that 'bubbling tensions' over immigration could explode into riots on the streets of Britain.


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The newly re-elected leader will also call for an 'end the trench warfare' and accept the decision of members and supporters who backed him over challenger Owen Smith by 62pc to 38pc.

Addressing the conference today, he will call for action to stop employers using migrant workers to undercut the pay and conditions of home-grown staff.

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And he will say Labour would reinstate the Migration Impact Fund introduced by Gordon Brown in 2008 to help local communities respond to pressure on services such as schools, health and housing, but abolished by the coalition government in 2010.

Mr Brown's £50m scheme was funded by a £50 visa levy on non-EU migrants. Mr Corbyn will boost its resources with a new citizenship application fee.

He will say: 'A Labour government will not offer false promises. We will not sow division or fan the flames of fear. We will instead tackle the real issues of immigration - and make the real changes that are needed.'

Asked whether the Labour leader believed that immigration levels – last month standing at 633,000 – needed to come down, an aide told reporters: 'Jeremy is not concerned about numbers. Jeremy wants to ensure that people who come to work here have the same rights as British people and there is no undercutting of pay or conditions, which is driving wages down.'

He added: 'It is not an objective to reduce the numbers, to reduce immigration. It is an objective to address the issues that are caused by immigration.'

Mr Burnham is due to say: 'Labour must face up fully to this fact: millions of our lifelong supporters voted to leave the EU and voted for change on immigration.'

Should Labour aim to cut immigration numbers? Email edpletters@archant.co.uk

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