SNP ducks question of migrant limits post-independence
THE SNP has declined to state whether or not it backs or rejects Labour’s call to limit the number of citizens from new EU member states able to enter the country.
In a speech last week, Labour leader Ed Miliband said he would use available controls “to limit the numbers of people who can come to work here” from European Union candidate countries. They include Turkey, Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Montenegro.
SNP MPs accused Miliband of “dog whistle politics” after his speech, saying his call for limits on immigration had made him look “more like the Tories... than the leader of a progressive party”.
However, the Scottish Government could not say specifically whether or not it supported or rejected Miliband’s EU policy.
All EU states are able to apply controls on immigration for up to seven years after a new member state enters the union. Miliband said Labour should “take advantage of the maximum transitional controls” to “limit the numbers of people who can come to work here”.
Asked whether this would be the policy of the SNP in an independent Scotland, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said only that “we must be able to attract and retain world-class talent to fill vacancies which cannot be filled by resident workers.”
She added: “An independent Scotland would manage immigration effectively to meet our own economic, social and demographic priorities and needs.”
Scottish Labour said it backed Miliband’s comments. Scottish Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Scotland, Margaret Curran, said: “I think Ed’s speech addressed a complex issue with honesty, thought and sensitivity. Scotland is a welcoming and opening country, but I think it is overstated to claim there are wildly different views on immigration in Scotland compared to Wales or England.”