KEIR Starmer is using the same “insular” and “xenophobic” language as the Tories on immigration, according to the Scottish Greens.

The Labour leader has said that the “common goal” of the UK economy must be to wean itself off “immigration dependency” and train up workers “who are already here.”

In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference he said that the UK has become “overly reliant” on workers from abroad.

However, his comments have drawn criticism after Nigel Farage posted a video to social media which said that Starmer was stealing policies from the 2015 UKIP manifesto.

The GB News presenter also said that Labour were now to the right of the Tories when it came to immigration.

The Scottish Greens have condemned the Labour leader’s comments.

The Scottish Greens economy spokesperson, Maggie Chapman MSP (below), said: "Starmer may try to frame it as pragmatism, but he is repeating many of the same reactionary themes and tropes as the Tories when it comes to immigration.

"He is talking about human beings as if they are burdens or statistics that we need to be 'weaned off' rather than real people.

"The UK has benefited economically, culturally and socially from immigration. Immigrants from the UK have also sought to make homes for themselves around the world. The idea that migration is a problem is small-minded, insular and xenophobic.

"Migrant communities are not to blame for low wages and poor conditions, successive UK governments and exploitative employers are.

"Yet, in the last few weeks alone we have seen Starmer arguing that there are too many migrants working in the NHS while his Shadow Chancellor has criticised the Tories for not deporting enough people.

The National: Maggie Chapman condemned Keir Starmer's language on immigration Maggie Chapman condemned Keir Starmer's language on immigration (Image: PA)

Chapman added: "It is part of a cynical dog whistle campaign. He is clearly too scared to deal with the real causes of our economic woes: the reckless, hard-right Brexit that he now pretends to support, or the major structural issues that are holding down wages and increasing inequality.

"It is the same strategy that we have seen from previous Labour governments, who were responsible for so much of the infrastructure and attitudes that the hostile environment was built upon. It was wrong when they brought out their 'controls on immigration' mug in 2015, and it is wrong now.

“We should stand resolutely with our migrant communities. We should welcome immigration and support those who seek to make their lives here, to work, study and contribute to our communities in so many ways. Immigration is a profoundly human thing to do, and it enriches us all.”

It comes as the UK Government scramble to improve temporary accommodation for migrants after it was revealed that infectious diseases were spreading amongst refugees in the overcrowded Manston processing facility in Kent.