After Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ recent comments criticising the Conservative government for supposedly implementing too few deportations, members of her local Labour Party (Leeds West) have written to her in protest. In their letter, they criticise her failure to clearly oppose the government’s “inhumane, illegal and racist” anti-migrant policies, and argues for the next Labour government to instead “turn the page on the nationalist, authoritarian and racist approach of the Tories'”. They invite her to discuss the issues with them in the democratic forum of CLP meetings.
We republish their letter below, and encourage everyone who agrees to share and amplify their message. If you live in Leeds West and would like to be put in touch with these activists – to add your name or work with them in campaigning – please contact us via email@example.com and we will pass your details along.
As Labour members in Leeds West anxious for a progressive Labour government we were concerned to see an interview you gave with Sky News around the time of the Labour Conference.
When asked if Labour supported Tory legislation to make it easier to deport people you replied “the problem is the government are not deporting people today even when their claims have failed, what the government need to do is get a grip, process claims quicker, ensure that people who don’t have a right to be here are sent home”.
Over the last 12 years Tory rhetoric and policy has demonised migrants and refugees, created the ‘Hostile Environment’, given us the Windrush Scandal and ratchets up tension and racism in our communities.
As a local party supported by yourself as our MP we have engaged with organisations like PAFRAS, Hope Not Hate and More In Common that either seek to help refugees or tackle division and racism.
However the impression given by this interview is Labour does not oppose the Tories’ inhumane, illegal and racist policies towards refugees and migrants, but just opposes how incompetent the delivery is.
This implies a Labour government would continue these policies but with higher rates of deportations.
With Labour hopefully getting closer to turfing out the Tories we have a real chance for a Labour government to turn the page on the nationalist, authoritarian and racist approach of the Tories on this issue. Labour should present a rational and humane approach to immigration and asylum. We hope this is an approach you will support and argue for in the shadow cabinet.
We look forward to your reply and further discussion at CLP meetings.
Co-signed by the following Leeds West Labour Party members and constituents.