Allies of Jeremy Corbyn including MPs, MEPs trade union leaders and senior Momentum figures have called on the Labour leader to commit to maintaining the free movement of people between the UK and EU.
During the election campaign Corbyn said free movement would end after Brexit.
But today leading figures including former shadow cabinet minister Clive Lewis, Tottenham MP David Lammy and Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the TSSA union, said Labour should change its position.
In an open letter, the new Labour Campaign for Free Movement group said: “The UK is at a crossroads in its relationship to the rest of the world, and so is our party.
“Immigrants and free movement are being scapegoated by a political and economic elite that is subjecting ordinary people to cuts and austerity. During the greatest refugee crisis in recent years, the Tories have responded with brutality and detention centres.
“Labour should respond with clarity, humanity and solidarity. We fought the last General Election arguing against such scapegoating, and celebrating the contributions of migrants to our society. That tone must now translate into policy.”
The letter adds: “A system of free movement is the best way to protect and advance the interests of all workers, by giving everyone the right to work legally, join a union and stand up to their boss without fear of deportation or destitution.”
Michael Chessum, the former Treasurer of the pro-Corbyn Momentum campaign group, said: ”Labour’s immigration stance has for far too long been dominated by pandering to the idea that immigration is to blame for a fall in living standards.
“This isn’t just factually wrong, it’s also self-defeating – because we need a narrative that is clear and honest about the fact that neo-liberalism and exploitation are the real problem. That has to be backed up with policy, not just sentiment. We beat the Tories when we’re principled and offer alternatives – that’s the lesson of the general election.”
The campaign has exposed further splits in the party over its Brexit policy.
Also today, Tim Roache, the general secretary of the GMB union, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme said curbing free movement should be a priority as many people had voted to leave the EU over concerns about immigration.