Plaid Leader urges public debate on immigration driven by ‘facts not fear’

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Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has called for a more rational and logical approach do the public debate on immigration, rather than the fearmongering which is driving division in communities.

Leanne Wood’s call comes as Labour MP Rachel Reeves claimed at the party’s annual conference today that tensions over immigration could “explode” into riots if the issue isn’t controlled.

The Party of Wales Leader criticised the comments as being “inflammatory and irresponsible”, adding that the Labour MP was fuelling rather than addressing people’s legitimate concerns over jobs and housing.

Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood said:

“To hear a Labour MP speak of riots if immigration levels are not controlled is both concerning and disappointing. The use of such inflammatory and irresponsible language will only serve to fuel rather than address people’s concerns about immigration.

“Of course people have fears about jobs and housing being given to people from abroad who may not have contributed into the system who have from within the local community.

“However, these fears should be addressed with practical steps like legislation to stop employers from undercutting the domestic workforce, not with reckless inflammatory rhetoric as seen today. We might expect this from UKIP, but not from Labour.

“Many people’s concerns arise from problems caused by the Tory UK Government’s destructive austerity agenda which has led to the loss of jobs and local services. If they were to focus on tackling tax avoidance, more resources would be available for our overstretched public services.

“Rather than acknowledge this and hold the Tories to account like any responsible opposition should, it is disappointing to see Labour dance to UKIP’s tune by pandering to fears and falling in line behind them on policy.

“Last week in the National Assembly, Labour joined the Tories, the Lib Dems and UKIP to oppose free movement at the expense of the Welsh economy. What is going on in the Labour Party?

“I would urge all parties to approach the issue of immigration with far greater rationality, logic and calm, so that the public debate is driven by facts rather than the damaging fearmongering which is dominating at present.

“It’s under these circumstances that people risk being hurt. I would expect Labour to understand this and act in a more responsible manner on these questions.”

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