Ed Miliband was “wrong” to order his MPs to abstain on the Immigration Bill in 2014, a former senior adviser to the ex-Labour leader has said.
Jeremy Corbyn, then a backbench MP, was one of just six Labour MPs to defy the party whip and vote against the legislation.
The Immigration Bill, introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary, has been blamed for creating the “hostile environment” for immigrants that led to the Windrush scandal.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Westminster Hour on Sunday evening, Lord Wood said Miliband had made a mistake.
“I think looking back it was probably the wrong thing to do,” the former Miliband aide said. “I think Jeremy Corbyn’s speech, looking back, was correct.”
May and Amber Rudd remain under intense pressure over the crisis, which has seen migrants who answered the post-World War II call to come to the UK wrongly threatened with deportation.
Labour has called for Rudd to resign as home secretary.
The prime minister has vowed do “whatever it takes” to right the wrong and said she supported compensation deals “where appropriate”.
Baroness Warsi, the former chair of the Conservative Party, told ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme that Tory cabinet ministers had opposed May’s approach to immigration.
“Many, many of the Conservatives around that table - many of my colleagues - were some of the harshest critics of what was being done in the name of more controlled immigration,” she said.
“And those debates didn’t just focus around what we’re dealing with now but also around for example student numbers and visitor applications and trade applications.”