Keir Stamer blasts ‘open borders’ during BBC interview

Keir Starmer says freedom of movement is 'gone'

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer defiantly insisted that “freedom of movement is over and is not coming back”. The promise came during a lengthy BBC Scotland interview this morning, as the party leader took a hardline approach to immigration. This comes as the Conservatives, under Home Secretary Suella Braverman, face a mounting backlash over their handling of illegal migration.

The Labour leader said that his party “do not want open borders” as he set out a path to “bring the numbers down”.

Discussing legal migration, Sir Keir said that the UK is recruiting too many people from overseas into the NHS.

He told the BBC: “We don’t want open borders. Freedom of movement has gone and it’s not coming back.

“So that means fair rules, firm rules, a points-based system.”

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He continued: “What I would like to see is the numbers go down in some areas.

“I think we’re recruiting too many people from overseas into, for example, the health service.

“But on the other hand, if we need high-skilled people in innovation in tech to set up factories, then I would encourage that.”

He argued that immigration was not the solution to a staffing crisis, as he called for more recruitment from within the UK.

The Labour leader said he has daily conversations with his wife Victoria, who works in the NHS, about the health service’s struggles.

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The NHS is currently facing an unprecedented staffing crisis, with about 6,000 nursing and midwifery posts unfilled in Scotland, while England is facing its worst-ever staffing crisis.

Senior SNP figure and the Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf hit out at Sir Keir’s remarks.

Mr Yousaf blasted Sir Keir’s response as “Labour’s anti-immigration rhetoric”.

He tweeted: “Those coming from overseas play a huge role as part of our NHS family.

“Labour’s anti-immigration rhetoric increasingly concerning as well as short-sighted.”


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Sir Keir’s comments come as Home Secretary Suella Braverman faces criticism for her language about migrants, as well as the condition at the Manston facility.

At one point in recent days, as many as 4,000 people were being detained at the site for weeks – far exceeding the facility’s limit of 1,600.

Downing Street officials said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is receiving twice-daily updates on the situation.

Later in the interview, Sir Keir also dismissed the SNP’s demands for another independence referendum, adding that there had been “15 years of failure” under the SNP.


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