The UK's Labour opposition will fight the next election on a tough, anti-immigration platform, a senior Labour figure has revealed. Until now, Labour has been seen as the pro-immigration party.
the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, told a UK political website,
politics.co.uk, that Labour needs to change its tune on immigration if
it is to recover seats lost at the last election. 'I think people need
to know that Labour recognises we didn't get everything right and will
have tough controls. That's important,' he said.
Mr Balls, the
second most senior member of Labour's shadow cabinet, was speaking while
visiting Stevenage, a town it lost to the Conservatives in the 2010
general election. Labour strategists believe that the party has lost a
great deal of support because of its support for mass immigration.
YouGov poll carried out in October 2012 suggested that Labour had lost
around 4m UK votes because of its support for mass immigration between
2000 and 2009. The same poll found that, even among those who continued
to support the Labour Party, there was majority support for 'zero net
migration', that is to say, for immigration only on a 'one in, one out'
During the last Labour administration, which governed
between 1997 and 2010, it is estimated that 5.5m people from abroad
settled in the UK. In 2009, a former advisor to Mr Blair's Labour
government told London newspaper The Evening Standard, that the Labour
Party had increased the level of immigration into the UK between the
year 2000 and 2009 deliberately in order to make Britain 'truly
Tony Blair, Labour Prime Minister between 1997 and
2008, sought to suggest that people who disapproved of mass immigration
were bigots. He said in a 2011 newspaper interview, 'I think the
majority of people in Britain today are not prejudiced and can
understand the benefits of immigration.'
Mr Blair's successor
Gordon Brown, was famously overheard complaining that Labour supporter
Gillian Duffy she was a 'bigoted woman' because she complained about the
level of eastern European immigration in Rochdale, Yorkshire.
it seems that the Labour leadership was out of step with the
membership. Research carried out by Oxford University's Migration
Observatory in February 2012 suggests that 75% of UK citizens want to
see immigration reduced. Now, the new Labour leadership is turning its
back on Mr Blair's pro-immigration stance in pursuit of electoral
Ed Miliband, himself the son of eastern European
immigrants to the UK, became the new leader of the Labour Party in 2010.
He gave a speech in June 2012 in which he said that his party had 'got
it wrong on immigration' and announced several policies that might help
UK workers to gain jobs in the face of competition from foreign-born
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