The shadow cabinet minister failed to provide any specifics despite being pushed by host Fiona Bruce multiple times, raising some serious concerns about where Labour will actually stand on the issue in the December election. The audience member in Brighton asked the simple question: “Whether or not the UK leaves the EU how should the UK’s immigration policy look going forward?” But, the answer she received left many in the audience scratching their heads as they tried to follow what the MP was saying.
“I think it needs to be fair and balanced and that we don’t want to see migrants thrown under a bus” said the MP for Norwich south.
Fiona Bruce then pushed for specifics asking “do you want to see immigration go up or down?”
Mr Lewis preceded to offer an answer that seemed to straddle the fence saying “We want to see immigration that works for our economy and works for the people who come here”, quickly trying to move the focus on to the Conservatives record.
However, Ms Bruce kept up the pressure as she refocused on Labour policy, leaving the minister squirming as he danced around any specifics.
He said: “I think what we’ve seen from the announcement today from the Conservative party that arbitrary figures that some people make sat around the table.
“But we’re not gonna do that we’re not gonna set an arbitrary figure and just say this is what we’re going for because, those targets have never been hit by this current government.”
In contrast both the same question drew significantly clearer and succinct answers from the Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly and Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips.
Mr Cleverly advocated for a points based system that is “fair, transparent, colour-blind based on the needs of our country”.
The minister reiterated that the Conservative party thought “immigration is to high and that they were committed to bringing it down.“
Alex Phillips echoed the sentiments stressing the need for a “sector by sector immigration system” where your skills were taken into account.
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“What matters is what you’re bringing to the country.”
The ministers failure to provide clarity on immigration comes as this week we’ve seen Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto savaged by a number of leading British analysts as “Unrealistic empty promises”.
The past 14 days has seen the emergence of many of the details of the much-anticipated Labour manifesto, which is expected to be released next week, with the socialist party promising big changes for workers, the public sector and the climate.
But those promises have not sat well with experts with one even claiming to force a four day week would provoke a massive surge in unemployment causing an “angry electorate on the dole”.
Morgan Schondelmeier of think tank the Adam Smith Institute told Express.co.uk: “This is the latest in a long line of unrealistic empty promises by Labour. Who wouldn’t want the extra lie in that a four day week provides? - But if it comes at the expense of your job altogether then they won’t find a grateful public but an angry electorate on the dole.
“In real terms, this policy will create a huge burden on businesses, creating endless red tape and making our labour market less flexible.
“It will be harder to find new work, harder to work extra hours for overtime, and harder for low skill and entry level workers to enter the labour market.”
The plan itself is expected to cost taxpayers a staggering £26billion.
The controversial policy is one of a number of policies teased at the Labour Partys September conference expected to appear in their manifesto next week.
One of the most controversial was how the party voted on scrapping private schools so even pupil has the exact some level of education as their peers.