Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of a speech later today, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Labour is “not wedded” to free movement of people as a matter of principle. Mr Corbyn said the focus should be ending the exploitation of low-skilled workers and an emphasis on local recruitment, and whilst EU migrants should have the right to travel to the UK, any right to work would be part of Brexit negotiations. The statement, which is at odds with the position Mr Corbyn took just a few months ago, comes in the wake of a number of senior Labour MPs calls for the party to change its position on free movement.
Mr Corbyn was due to make his first major speech of 2017 in Peterborough today, in which he would set out his latest thinking on Brexit and the Government’s approach to its negotiations with the EU. Mr Corbyn is due to argue that the UK can be better off outside the EU and that his party wants “managed migration” and to repatriate powers from Brussels to allow the UK government to intervene in struggling industries. Mr Corbyn will insist that the Labour party will fight for a Brexit “that works not just for City interests, but in the interests of us all”.