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18 March 2015

The Greens welcome Jack Monroe and other new members for seeing through “phoney migration rhetoric“

The chef and campaigner who once appeared in a Labour campaign video has joined the Greens.

By Jean Lambert

Labour is engaged in wars on several fronts, and, like the Conservatives, is strategically figuring out where voters are going, and what it is that they need to do or say to tempt them back. They seem to have concluded that if Ukip is the problem, then a tough line on immigration – rather than anything else – must be the solution.

In running a direct mail campaign in North East London, they appear to be targeting white, working-class voters with a four-page leaflet ostensibly about health. One section though, has the toxic heading “Labour’s tough new approach to immigration.”

Today, one former party member and activist has said that it is this direction in which Labour are heading that has resulted in her not feeling able to support them any longer. In doing so, food blogger and campaigner Jack Monroe has risked raising the ire of a fair few powerful Labour PR people who will consider her defection a snub, and not a little embarrassing, too.

As the Green immigration spokesperson I am pleased to welcome anyone to the party who shares our ideals, and can see the phony rhetoric over migration for what it is: simple fear-mongering.

Our two largest parties continue to disseminate a “drawbridge” message by instilling a reputation for the UK as somewhere that even skilled people and bright, foreign-born students aren’t welcome. Well done, Jack Monroe – and every other new member of the Green Surge – for rejecting this approach.

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The UK is an attractive destination for people who come to our shores to work, study or join their partner. Our historical ties and reputation for defending human rights have also made the UK a destination for desperate people seeking sanctuary and freedom from warfare, oppression and political persecution – a reputation that those parties have sought to undermine. Unfortunately, in the time left before the general election we will hear more negative rhetoric about migration in a contest to see who is toughest and most divisive. I am proud to say that the Greens will not be joining this depressing contest.

Jean Lambert is a Green MEP for London and tweets @GreenJeanMEP