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Britain’s Labour should make it easy for migrants

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The Labour Party is surging in British polls. That’s after a June general election in which it unexpectedly won a remarkable 40 per cent of the vote under the leadership of the much-derided Jeremy Corbyn. Young and previously disengaged voters were galvanised by a left-wing policy platform that pledged to deal with the wealth inequalities and economic hardships that affect so many people today.

You could say Labour has tugged the national political map to the left. But now, this progressive spirit may be checked by Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union - in particular, to the extent that the Brexit vote was motivated by hostility to immigration. According to a recent British Social Attitudes survey, 73 per cent of those worried about immigration voted for Britain to leave the union.

The challenge for the Labour Party is to devise a policy that honours Brexit voters’ decision but doesn’t dishonour its own values. That’s an especially tough circle to square when it comes to immigration. During the recent general election campaign, Labour conceded that the right to free movement within the European Union for member-state citizens would end post-Brexit. But the party leadership also championed migrants’ vital contributions to Britain, while promising to scrap the “bogus immigration targets” that have been set by the Conservative government and to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens living in Britain.

This balancing act seemed to work for........

© Hürriyet Daily News