[lg policy] UK: Liam Byrne defends robust language in election leaflet

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 14:55:03 UTC 2015

  Liam Byrne defends robust language in election leaflet
 [image: Liam Byrne's constituency contains Park View Academy, the source
of so much controversy]
Liam Byrne has defended a leaflet containing comments on immigration as
Labour Party policy

A former immigration minister has defended his use of robust language in a
Labour election leaflet saying it is party policy, despite being condemned
as "abhorrent" by a close colleague.

Liam Byrne, who is defending his Hodge Hill seat for Labour, also accused a
Tory opponent of selectively quoting his campaign leaflet to hoodwink
Labour council leader Sir Albert Bore into an attack.

The row arose as backbench Conservative Peter Douglas Osborn quoted the
leaflet during the April council meeting.

Lines such as "stronger border controls, new exit checks to count people in
and out of the country, ban visa overstayers and bring back fingerprint
checks for illegal migrants in Calais" were read out.

He said the leaflet spoke of making immigrants "earn their right" to live

Coun Douglas Osborn (Con Weoley) then asked council leader Sir Albert Bore
to join him in "deprecating" the comments which he said were inflammatory
in a diverse city such as Birmingham.

The wily backbencher had also masked the Labour leaflet behind a UKIP one
to lull the council leader. Sir Albert fell for the ambush and agreed that
such language was "abhorrent" and should be condemned.

The reveal it was a Labour leaflet, being pushed through doors in Shard
End, was greeted with howls of laughter from Tories and tuts from the
Labour benches.

As well as being Labour politicians, Sir Albert has worked closely with Mr
Byrne, including being as running mate in an aborted elected mayor bid in

Looking to save the council leader's blushes, Mr Byrne attacked the Tory
councillor for making light of a serious issue and pointed out the
statements were Labour immigration policy, one he helped draw up.

Mr Byrne, who was immigration minster between 2006 and 2008, said: "We need
smart talk and sensible action on immigration reform. All politicians have
a responsibility to treat this carefully and comprehensively.

"So, quite frankly, the debate deserves rather better than selectively
quoting leaflets for party political point scoring. We need a new national
consensus on immigration.

"That's the position Labour's manifesto sets out and that's what in our
leaflets. Nothing more. Nothing less."

• Candidates for Hodge Hill: Phil Bennion (Lib Dem), Liam Byrne (Lab), Andy
Chaffer (Communist), Albert Duffen (UKIP), Kieran Mullan (Cons), Chris Nash

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