Keir Starmer denies Tories' 'complete garbage' migrant quota claims

Tories swipe that Keir Starmer’s plan to tackle small boats crisis has ‘already fallen apart’ as Labour leader is forced to deny Britain would have to take in a quota of migrants as part of his bid to strike a deal with EU

Sir Keir Starmer today faced Tory claims his plan to tackle the small boats crisis has ‘already fallen apart’.

The Labour leader this week attempted to flesh out how he would try and cut Channel migrant numbers should be become prime minister.

Sir Keir indicated he would be open to striking a deal with the EU that could involve Britain taking in a quota of asylum seekers in exchange for being able to return people who cross the Channel.

It saw Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman accuse Labour of planning to let the UK become a ‘dumping ground’ for 100,000 migrants from the bloc each year.

But Sir Keir this morning used a TV interview to reject those claims as ‘complete garbage’.

Sir Keir Starmer has attempted to flesh out how he would try and cut Channel migrant numbers should be become prime minister

But the Labour leader  faced Tory claims his plan to tackle the small boats crisis has ‘already fallen apart’

Speaking to Sky News from Canada, where he is attending a summit of centre-left leaders, the Labour leader said: ‘Let me be absolutely crystal clear about this.

‘Because the Government has been pumping out complete garbage this week in terms of the numbers that they are suggesting.

‘There is obviously an EU quota system for EU members. Well, it’s obvious we are not an EU member.

‘We will not be part of that. We are not an EU member. This is why what the Government’s saying, it’s been complete garbage.

‘And even that scheme within the EU is not working. I’ve been discussing that with EU leaders up here.

‘That scheme itself isn’t really working very well. So the idea that we’re going to join the EU scheme on quotas is complete nonsense.

‘We’re not an EU member and that wasn’t what I was talking about.’

Sir Keir’s clarification on Labour’s plans came after he had previously suggested he would be willing to accept the ‘quid pro quo’ of migrant quotas in exchange for a returns deal with Brussels.

‘That would be part of any discussions and negotiations with Europe,’ Sir Keir said during a visit to The Hague earlier this week.

Ahead of a meeting with Europol bosses in the Dutch city, Sir Keir had set out his plans to treat people-smugglers like terrorists if he wins the next general election.

He also revealed that Labour would scrap the Government’s proposal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their claims processed, as well as ditch Tory efforts to ban Channel migrants from claiming asylum in Britain.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick today claimed Sir Keir ‘doesn’t have the stomach’ to combat the Channel migrant crisis.

In a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Jenrick wrote: ’18 months ago Sir Keir forced every Labour MP to vote against the Nationality and Borders Act which made tougher sentences for people smugglers.

‘Now he shamelessly tries to deceive the British public he cares about illegal migration. He doesn’t and the Labour Party never will.’

Mr Jenrick added: ‘Labour’s “plan” has already fallen apart. The truth is Labour won’t take the tough, but necessary action to stop the boats.

‘Sir Keir doesn’t have the stomach for this fight. His every instinct is for open borders.’

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