EU referendum: Andy Burnham says immigration as it "works in practice" needs review as Leave makes gains in the north

James Nickerson
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Andy Burnham Launches His Bid To Become Mayor Of Manchester
Burnham recently launched his bid for Manchester mayor (Source: Getty)

There needs to be a review of how immigration works in practice, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham has said as the pro-Brexit camp makes strong strides in the north.

Speaking to journalists at Manchester Town Hall, Burnham said that he understood that frustrations with immigration, Westminster and tough economic conditions had led to votes for Leave in the north of England.

He said that the voting reflects people's concerns, and he wants Labour to seek to address their concerns "as part of a review of how freedom of movement works in practice", Burnham said.

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"It's clear to me that some boroughs will vote leave on balance, and that worries me that there are people who feel their concerns have not been listened to over many years. There is a feeling the political class hasn't taken concerns about particularly immigration seriously and acted on them."

"What I would say as shadow home secretary is that from here we need to review how freedom of movement works in practice and look at some of those issues that Jeremy Corbyn has raised in this campaign. Issues like, pressures on public services, because often its the more deprived communities that have to absorb that pressure without extra funding. That can't be right," he said.

"It also can't be right that people can be brought in from other countries when their employment is still in their country of origin and then employed here to undercut wages - there needs to be a review."

Read more: Implied probability of Remain slashed by Betfair after strong start for Leave

He said that he isn't seeking EU treaty change, but a review of areas such as protecting skilled wages, as well as looking at the posted worker's directive - where a person's employment is held in a country of orignin but they still work in other EU member states - that can lead to the undercutting of wages.

"But these should be taken forward with the forthcoming UK presidency of the EU - if, of course, we are still a member".

Burnham, who recently launched his campaign to become Manchester mayor, also said he understands that people feel issues that matter to them don't get "a proper airing", which is why he wants to leave Westminster and "revitalise Labour in the north".

"We can't carry on as we are and we've got to show we're ready to take a different approach."

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