Theresa May is more interested in migration targets than a Brexit deal says senior Labour MP

Mark Sands
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McGovern has represented the Liverpool constituency of Wirral South since 2010. (Source: Getty)

The chair of Labour’s Progress, a centre-left campaign group, has launched a stinging attack on Theresa May, arguing her focus on a “sustainable” net migration target is limiting the ability to secure the best possible Brexit deal.

Since coming to power, May has retained a target of reducing net migration to below 100,000, first launched while she was home secretary under David Cameron.

However, Progress chair and former shadow city minister Alison McGovern has today accused the Prime Minister of being too inward looking, and failing to promote sectors like financial services.

Asked by City A.M. to reflect on the possibility of protecting the City’s passporting rights, McGovern questioned the willingness of May to promote the sector.

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“In the end this is an actual deal that we are looking for here. The problem is that the possibility of a good deal on the economics is necessary but not sufficient to get the job done. The thing that you also need is effort on the politics,” McGovern said

“But is she really trying? Theresa May is a little bit too much in the old mindset of being home secretary. And not enough on getting a good deal.

“We desperately need someone who can speak for our country and promote these industries, but she seems more interested in her old of job of defending failed migration targets.”

McGovern’s comments come as senior Labour MPs wrestle with how to balance migration reform with Single Market membership in the aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

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Speaking at a fringe event on EU membership earlier today, Streatham MP Chuka Umunna said May “should seek to secure membership of the Single Market [alongside] a change in the agreements that we have in the war freedom of movement operates”.