Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Ukraine stands on the brink – and Europe must bring it back (Guardian)

This is no velvet revolution, but nor is it an uprising of fascist Cossacks or a zero-sum game with Russia, writes Timothy Garton Ash. Europe must intervene on the side of democracy and human rights.

2. I don’t begrudge Bob Crow his holiday but I do mind his strike (Daily Telegraph)

It’s outrageous that London can be held to ransom by a minority of the RMT’s members, says Boris Johnson. 

3. Cameron's Tories are even more rebellious than Major's. Whatever happened to loyalty? (Guardian)

Conservatives are now a party more interested in ideological purity than power – and the voters won't like it, says Chris Huhne. 

4. The bare necessities of life will come to you (Times)

Most of us think the poor stay poor and inequality is exploding, writes Matt Ridley. Wrong. The evidence is that these are times of plenty.

5. Emerging-market chaos and the Federal Reserve taper mean this might be as good as it gets for Britain’s economy (Independent)

This recovery looks unsustainable, says David Blanchflower.

6. Ukip has done more than any other party to destroy the racist BNP (Independent)

For the last three years, we’ve been telling those who vote for them out of frustration but don’t agree with their racist agenda to vote for us, writes Nigel Farage. 

7. Michael Gove: inspection failure (Guardian)

It is hard to see why Lady Morgan has been knifed except on partisan grounds as the general election nears, says a Guardian editorial. 

8. Stop kicking out bright foreigners (Financial Times)

Let us use their brains to our advantage, writes James Dyson. 

9. Full marks for Gove’s state-school ambition (Daily Telegraph)

The Education Secretary's agenda represents a much-awaited rejection of bog-standard equality in favour of the excellence that typifies the independent ethos, says a Telegraph editorial.

10. Obama’s trade agenda hangs on a thin Reid (Financial Times)

The Democrat from Nevada never met a trade deal he liked, writes Edward Luce.

Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Getty
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Jeremy Corbyn: “wholesale” EU immigration has destroyed conditions for British workers

The Labour leader has told Andrew Marr that his party wants to leave the single market.

Mass immigration from the European Union has been used to "destroy" the conditions of British workers, Jeremy Corbyn said today. 

The Labour leader was pressed on his party's attitude to immigration on the Andrew Marr programme. He reiterated his belief that Britain should leave the Single Market, claiming that "the single market is dependent on membership of the EU . . . the two things are inextricably linked."

Corbyn said that Labour would argue for "tarriff-free trade access" instead. However, other countries which enjoy this kind of deal, such as Norway, do so by accepting the "four freedoms" of the single market, which include freedom of movement for people. Labour MP Chuka Umunna has led a parliamentary attempt to keep Britain in the single market, arguing that 66 per cent of Labour members want to stay. The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon said that "Labour's failure to stand up for common sense on single market will make them as culpable as Tories for Brexit disaster".

Laying out the case for leaving the single market, Corbyn used language we have rarely heard from him - blaming immigration for harming the lives of British workers.

The Labour leader said that after leaving the EU, there would still be European workers in Britain and vice versa. He added: "What there wouldn't be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry." 

Corbyn said he would prevent agencies from advertising jobs in central Europe - asking them to "advertise in the locality first". This idea draws on the "Preston model" adopted by that local authority, of trying to prioritise local suppliers for public sector contracts. The rules of the EU prevent this approach, seeing it as discrimination. 

In the future, foreign workers would "come here on the basis of the jobs available and their skill sets to go with it. What we wouldn't allow is this practice by agencies, who are quite disgraceful they way they do it - recruit a workforce, low paid - and bring them here in order to dismiss an existing workforce in the construction industry, then pay them low wages. It's appalling. And the only people who benefit are the companies."

Corbyn also said that a government led by him "would guarantee the right of EU nationals to remain here, including a right of family reunion" and would hope for a reciprocal arrangement from the EU for British citizens abroad. 

Matt Holehouse, the UK/EU correspondent for MLex, said Corbyn's phrasing was "Ukippy". 

Asked by Andrew Marr if he had sympathy with Eurosceptics - having voted against previous EU treaties such as Maastricht - Corbyn clarified his stance on the EU. He was against a "deregulated free market across Europe", he said, but supported the "social" aspects of the EU, such as workers' rights. However, he did not like its opposition to state subsidy of industry.

On student fees, Corbyn was asked "What did you mean by 'I will deal with it'?". He said "recognised" that graduates faced a huge burden from paying off their fees but did not make a manifesto commitment to forgive the debt from previous years. However, Labour would abolish student debt from the time it was elected. Had it won the 2017 election, students in the 2017/18 intake would not pay fees (or these would be refunded). 

The interview also covered the BBC gender pay gap. Corbyn said that Labour would look at a gender pay audit in every company, and a pay ratio - no one could receive more than 20 times the salary of the lowest paid employee. "The BBC needs to look at itself . . . the pay gap is astronomical," he added. 

He added that he did not think it was "sustainable" for the government to give the DUP £1.5bn and was looking forward to another election.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.