POLITICS
30/09/2015 09:16 BST | Updated 30/09/2015 09:59 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Says Immigration Is Not 'Necessary A Problem'

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first keynote speech during the third day of the Labour Party conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, Sussex.

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted immigration should not be looked upon as a problem, but shadow home secretary Andy Burnham is due to tell Labour it looked "out of touch" on the issue during the election.

The new Labour leader decided not to talk about immigration in his speech to the party conference in Brighton on Tuesday.

Asked about it on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Corbyn said "people that have migrated to this country over many years have made an enormous contribution to our society".

And he said he and Burnham had discussed immigration "many times" during the leadership campaign. "Andy has consistently made the point that the problem of lack of doctors surgeries, school places, housing difficulties in certain areas has to be addressed," hesaid.

He added: "Don't look at immigration as necessary a problem, it's often a very great opportunity."

But today, Burnham will tell the Labour conference that EU freedom of movement rules have "made life harder for people in our poorest communities" as wages have been undercut.

"For too long, we have argued that free movement across Europe benefits everyone and affects all areas equally. That's just not true," he is expected to say.

"In places, a free market in labour benefits private companies more than people and communities. Labour hasn't faced up to that and that's why we look out of touch."

In his speech, Burnham, who was made shadow home secretary by Corbyn after coming second in the leadership contest, is also due to ditch Labour's opposition to elected police and crime commissioners. He will also say it is possible to "to protect most of what we've got" with a 10% cut in the police budget.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk criticised Corbyn's approach at a fringe event yesterday. "You’ve got to talk about immigration," he said. You’ve got to be, as a political party, and leader of a political party, patriotic, you’ve got talk about Englishness."

Ukip's migration spokesman Steven Woolfe branded Burnham "pathetic" for how long it took him to begin to criticise the EU's immigration rules.