IMMIGRATION issues were examined by a group of Northwich residents when they were visited by the Shadow Home Secretary.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper held a 'listening event' at Winnington Park Recreation Club on Thursday, which gave a cross section of the community chance to discuss the controversial topic in detail.

Ms Cooper introduced the event by saying that immigration is one of three issues, the other two being the NHS and the cost of living, which crop up regularly when Labour Party members are talking to people on the doorstep.

"Today I want to hear from you – your thoughts about immigration and the way the system is working at the moment," she said.

Small groups talked through a range of issues with Yvette, from illegal immigration and border controls to the jobs market, exploitation and pressure on public services.

Groups talked of the positive impact of immigration on the UK, including skilled workers in the NHS and hospitality industry, and said the system needed to make sure all employees were paid a fair wage, regardless of where they come from.

Yvette said: "It's good to have a debate like this and this has been a really good discussion with different views.

"What it shows is that people don't have a really simple view that its all good or all bad.

"I think there are three different kinds of approaches you can take to immigration.

"You can take the approach that we should have closed borders or, at the other end, that there shouldn't be restrictions on travel and trade, or, the position in the middle, that it should be controlled and managed.

"What's the most effective way in order to make it fair? People have different views but that, in the end, is what we're talking about."

Julia Tickridge, Labour's candidate for the Weaver Vale constituency, said people who raised immigration as an issue in the area often had other things on their minds.

"When you delve a little deeper and get to the heart of the matter it's because people are worried about jobs for their young family members or about their own job security," she said.

"The cost of living crisis is affecting people and when you're being affected by things outside your control you try to look for an answer but it's more complex.

"When people raise immigration issues more often than not it's hiding or masking other fundamental problems in their lives.

"More often than not immigration isn't an issue."