Split between Corbyn and Johnson over migrant benefits ‘sideshow’?

Alan Johnson, the former home secretary [Image: David Gadd/Sportsphoto/Allstar].

It’s doubtful that they were ever particularly close, but Alan Johnson’s comments on benefits for EU migrants into the UK seem unlikely to endear him to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn opposes David Cameron’s proposal for a four-year in-work benefit ban on people coming into the UK from the EU; Johnson supports it.

But Johnson made it clear that the issue is a “sideshow” to him; it won’t reduce the amount of EU immigration (meaning it won’t act as intended); and there are more important matters to discuss.

It’s just a shame he doesn’t seem to have mentioned what they were.

An emergency brake to limit in-work benefits for EU migrants is a “sideshow” that will fail to reduce the number of arrivals to the UK, Alan Johnson has said.

As David Cameron prepares to meet the European council president, Donald Tusk, on the margins of a Syria donor conference in London, Johnson the former home secretary and leader of Labour’s pro-EU campaign, said he looked forward to discussing the “real issues”.

Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “On that specific issue [the emergency brake], I think that is progress. We believe in the principle of fair contribution. That is why it was in our manifesto that there should be a limit of two years before benefits are paid.”

Asked whether it mattered whether the brake would cut immigration numbers, Johnson said: “It was never going to do that … The issue of in-work benefits isn’t a draw factor … There are all kinds of factors why people choose to move round Europe. I don’t think that [in-work benefits] is one of them.

“This is a sideshow. The sideshow is almost out of the way and then we can get on with the real issues about the EU. As far as Ukip are concerned, we are not frightened to face up to this ‘fear of others’ argument they make.”

Source: Migrant benefits limit is sideshow in EU debate, says Alan Johnson | Politics | The Guardian

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8 thoughts on “Split between Corbyn and Johnson over migrant benefits ‘sideshow’?

  1. Thomas walker

    This one will bite Jeremy on the ass.as will the referendum. I follow the party line but overall 90% of my Labour friends are voting out no matter what Cameron brings back.

    1. chriskitcher

      I suggest that you find new friends or show these idiots the error of their ways. What this whole episode has shown me is the paucity of UK politicians when faced with the experts in the EU. We don’t need a PR idiot or his public school chums to embarrass us in the EU.

      1. Thomas walker

        When I said Labour friends,I meant Labour voters of my acquaintance who see the migrant problem as directly impacting on them,as they see it there is no social housing available for the people who have paid into the system all there lives,but miraculously we can find the money for these poor refugees,but not the people with mental health problems,soldiers returning from serving there country who are left on streets to fend for themselves,I could go on,but I’ll leave it to the idiots you talk about to vote leave in the referendum.That will learn them.

  2. John Ingamells

    I believe this issue of an emergency brake for migrants and thus creating different criteria within the EU for workers is fundamentally a smokescreen for Cameron and part of his lie about our welfare being an attraction. It’s dishonest and seems to identify the principle for workers that the concept of the EU as a mechanism to benefit ordinary workers, is nearing its end. I see the reasons why Corbyn would argue that if we are to have an EU, it should provide as similar working conditions as possible, especially for in work tax credits. It seems wrong that someone within the EU might be treated differently, as a keen EU advocate it is odd how Johnson us willing to jettison some beneficial worker rights, against its principles, thought Corbyn who i believe is not as pro EU, sees the merits of uniformity for all nations workers. My concern about this vote is the lack of accurate information regarding company contracts with EU countries, the knock on of the risk to jobs, as well as the implications for workers already employed in europe from the UK. We are being deliberately left to form opinions largely based on gut instincts or personal animosity to the concept of the EU. This doesnt bode well for the hope we will get fair, balanced and informative facts fro politicians and our largely euro sceptic media. We retain as a nation a legacy of superiority from the days of empire which a certain generation need to realise is out of date and does not relate to this modern world. I hear we will make up for lost contracts in Europe with ones from China and India, though neither countries are ones which have a history of investing in jobs in other countries, rather they generally employ their low waged workforce to provide sweatshop products to export to other countries. My fear is the benefit talk is irrelevant and a lack of facts on job losses as well as contracts, will ultimately be the negative outcome of an exit decision which i believe we seem to be heading to. I have to say the lack of leadership, opportunist politicians, behaviour of police in certain EU countries, as well as the propaganda employed against refugees, largely created by political leaders encouraging a civil war in Syria, as well as wars in Libya and Iraq, as a sad reflection of the massive shift to the right of many EU countries politicians and people.

  3. casalealex

    There may be a number of valid reasons why we should leave the EU, and the same for remaining in it. However, most ‘news’ seems to propose leaving; giving a number of reasons why we should. I would very much like to know what this country will do if we decide to leave, as there does not seem to be any solid considerations being put forward.

    1. chriskitcher

      The “out” campaign seems to typify a right wing Utopian dream but not one of them as you say has come up with a positive way forward.

      I have two main reasons for wanting in:

      Firstly I want to maintain the European brake on these right wing idiots that are currently infesting Westminster, and

      Secondly the idea of competing in free trade around the world means that we become even more in hock to America or try to compete with developing economies which will just result in a race to the bottom for the living conditions of all working people.

      1. casalealex

        Thanks for your enlightenment Chris. We need to know more pros and cons of in and out. Many people appear to not understand the enormity of this decision. x

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