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The Conservative Party has taken the country to “breaking point” by failing to tackle high levels of immigration, Labour’s Bridget Phillipson has said.

The Shadow Education Secretary told GB News: “It's the Conservatives who've taken us to breaking point on the asylum and immigration system. They've had 14 years now. We've got this huge backlog of cases.

“But the Conservatives have got no plan even to process those cases. So the first step is to get on with processing them. We've said that we'll have more caseworkers working on that in order to get through that backlog.

“We do need to have return agreements in place so that when people don't have a claim to be here they are returned.

“But whatever the Conservatives say claiming somehow that this the Rwanda agreement is the answer, it’s just total nonsense.

“They themselves know that they're talking about a very small number of people that it could potentially affect and frankly, if they were so confident in that plan, I'm not sure why they would have called the election before the flights have even got off the ground.

“We do need to make sure we secure our borders and that's why we've said that we will deliver a border security command to smash the gangs at source and to make sure that people are not making that journey across the channel.”

She added: “We've got to get to grips with the huge backlog that we see, the millions of pounds that are being spent every single day on unsuitable hotel accommodation.

“We’d use that money that's being spent on housing people at the cost of millions of pounds every day and redirect that money into taking action against the criminal smuggling gangs and making sure that we've got strong border enforcement.”

Asked about the party’s environmental policies, she said: “The answer to how we move to a position of decarbonising our economy, creating more jobs, is through private investment, not just public money.

“You can invest relatively modest sums of public money and that brings in real returns when it comes to private companies using that as a lever to deliver bigger private investment.

“We know that there are lots of companies that would relish the opportunity to invest directly in, for example, offshore wind to create jobs right across our country.”

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