Britain should introduce a strict ‘Australian-style’ points-based immigration system of the kind advocated by Ukip, one of Labour’s leadership contenders has said.
Liz Kendall, widely seen as the Blairite candidate for the job, told a BBC Newsnight hustings of candidates that Australia’s system was worth emulating.
Ms Kendall deployed various anti-immigrant tropes in her argument for the new controls, repeating claims about migrants “scrambling onto lorries from Calais” to live off the British welfare state.
“We need strong rules, people are angry and concerned about immigration, they’re angry about people trying to get into this country illegally, scrambling onto lorries from Calais,” she said.
“If you come here legally from Europe you should come to work, and not claim benefits, and put in before you take out.
“You should respect the community you live in and our culture and for people outside Europe we need a strict points-based system like they have in Australia.”
An audience member at the hustings pointed out that the policy Ms Kendall had advocated was shared with the right-wing party led by Nigel Farage.
Despite this, Ms Kendall however said she would not try to beat Ukip at their own game.
“I will not be the Labour leader that tried to out-Ukip Ukip, or pretends to people there’s some kind of button we can push to rewind the country and go back to a world that isn’t coming back,” she said.
She added that her constituency had seen “huge benefits” from immigration and that she would not turn back the clock.
Australia’s immigration system has been internationally and repeatedly condemned as inhumane.
In March this year prime minister Tony Abbott said his country was “sick of being lectured” about allegations of systemic torture at detention camps.
A UN Human Rights Council report found that “the government of Australia, by failing to provide adequate detention conditions; end the practice of detention of children; and put a stop to the escalating violence and tension at the regional processing centre, has violated the right of the asylum seekers including children to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Ms Kendall also said she agreed with removing tax credits and other in-work support from migrants travelling to work in the UK from the EU.
IMAGE: Labour Party leadership contender Liz Kendall. (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)