Scottish Daily Mail

Expect riots if we’re soft on immigratio­n, warn MPs

- By James Slack and Gerri Peev

JEREMY Corbyn was yesterday attacked by senior Labour MPs who warned there will be riots if an ‘out of touch elite’ does not listen to voters’ concerns about immigratio­n.

Mr Corbyn left moderate MPs in despair during his party conference speech by failing to promise he would curb the free movement of EU migrants.

Ex-ministers said it would be a catastroph­e if the party ‘abandoned’ working class voters who are worried about the pressure being put on public services and wages. The Labour leader’s border policy was limited to setting up a migrant impact fund to build more houses and raising wages across Europe to make Britain a less attractive destinatio­n.

But Rachel Reeves, an ex-shadow cabinet member, said Labour had to listen to voters who want curbs on migration. She said: ‘The reason we have got to get this right is because there are bubbling tensions in this country that I just think could explode. You had those riots in 2011, the riots didn’t happen in Leeds, but if riots started again in Leeds and bits of my constituen­cy, it’s like a tinder box.’

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham yesterday announced he was quitting the shadow cabinet.

He also said Labour and Mr Corbyn ‘must fully face up to this fact, millions of lifelong Labour supporters voted to leave the EU and, let’s be honest, voted for change on immigratio­n’.

Mr Burnham added: ‘We haven’t yet even begun to show to them that we understand why.

‘I don’t want to hear this party make the patronisin­g argument that people didn’t understand their referendum vote. They understood it very well.

‘The truth is the EU was working better for some parts of our country than it was for others. For some of our country’s least affluent areas, it wasn’t working well at all.

‘These were the places that lost industry in the 80s and 90s and got no real help from any government to replace those good jobs. Places that saw house prices collapse and whole terraced streets bought up by absent private landlords.’

Yvette Cooper warned Labour it risks failing to help ‘desperate’ refugees if it adopts a ‘tin ear’ to resolving the country’s immigratio­n concerns.

The former minister, who is chairman of Labour’s refugee taskforce, urged the party not to be ‘paralysed’ through fear of the ‘difficult politics of immigratio­n’.

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