Laura Kuenssberg says you 'completely changed position' to Nandy
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Laura Kuenssberg said that Labour cannot criticise the Conservatives for “going back and forth” on policies when “they do exactly the same thing”. The BBC politics presenter grilled Lisa Nandy over Labour’s abrupt U-turn on immigration policy. This comes as Sir Keir Starmer told business leaders this week that the days of “cheap labour” must end to wean the UK off its “immigration dependency”.
Sir Keir ruled out a return to freedom of movement and promised a “pragmatic” approach to immigration.
However, this has sparked a backlash after Sir Keir and Lisa Nandy both previously used to passionately support freedom of movement.
Ms Kuenssberg told the shadow minister for levelling up, housing and communities: “You stood for the leadership of the Labour Party promising to protect freedom of movement.
“Keir Starmer did the same.”
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She continued: “This week he said something completely different, that he has no interest in freedom and movement and it cannot return. You have also changed your position.
“How can you criticise the Conservatives for chopping and changing policy and going back and forth, when actually you have done exactly the same thing.”
Ms Nandy denied that Labour had changed its position, insisting that the party only backed freedom of movement to fill vacancies in the economy.
Ms Kuenssberg hit back: “You’ve completely changed your position.
“Starmer used to say he would defend freedom of movement – until this week, and now it’s no longer Labour policy.”
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Ms Nandy responded: “Well the route to freedom of movement is rejoining the EU in one form or another, and that’s just not on the table.
“There is no appetite for that here or in Europe. We don’t want to go back to that division.”
She added that the current “very high levels of immigration are unsustainable because we haven’t invested in our young people”.
Laying out Labour’s policy, Ms Nandy explained: “We believe in a points-based immigration system, that’s what we introduced when we were in government.
“But we want to align that much more closely to skills so that we first invest in our young people so that they’re able to get the jobs.”
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During the tense interview, Ms Nandy also refused to say whether Labour would build more homes and dodged questions on housing targets.
She also echoed Conservative claims that public sector pay rises that would match or “bust” inflation are “unaffordable”.
The comments come as the country braces itself for a wave of strikes by railway workers and nurses.
Ms Nandy said: “Well, they’re unaffordable because of 12 years of Tory government and 44 days in which Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng crashed the economy.”
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