Cooper - “Time for thoughtful immigration debate”

Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper
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YVETTE COOPER has called for a fresh debate on immigration in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union.

The Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP told the Labour conference the public want the asylum and immigration systems to be “fair, managed and controlled”.

She said it “isn’t racist” to talk about managing migration or to say that “low skilled migration should come down”.

Ms Cooper added: “And saying this should not spark a row it should open up the debate.

“In the referendum people voted against free movement. But there is no consensus over what people voted for.”

Ms Cooper, who chairs Labour’s refugee taskforce, warned having a “tin ear” over concerns on immigration could harm efforts to help those fleeing war and persecution.

She said: “we should be part of a serious, thoughtful debate on what fair rules should be,

“We cannot do that if we dig in from the start. But here’s what we must never do.

“We won’t use fear on immigration as reason not to help those most in need,

“We won’t call people ‘swarms’ or ‘hoards’ - they are mothers, fathers and children.”
Ms Cooper spoke movingly about the plight of migrant children in Calais and called for Britain and France to agree to each take half of the lone children in the camp.

“Calais should be a scar on the conscience of both France and Britain,” she said.