If you can't beat them, join them? Ed Miliband urged to beat Ukip with EU immigration curbs


Political Editor

A close ally of Ed Miliband has urged Labour to combat the threat from Ukip by proposing curbs on migration to Britain from other European Union countries.

John Denham, the former Cabinet minister, said Labour should abandon its “politically correct” approach to immigration and listen to people with Labour values who are worried about the issue.

Mr Denham, formerly Mr Miliband’s parliamentary aide, said: “Many of the EU citizens who entitled to come here are people we would reject if they came from anywhere else… If voters ask good questions, ignoring them is not a wise political strategy.”

Writing on the LabourList website, Mr Denham argued: “For the foreseeable future, it would be better if fewer EU migrants came here. That way we can create a more balanced labour market and reduce future pressures on services and housing. So we should work actively to reduce the number of EU migrants coming to the UK, and move closer to the relationship we have with the rest of the world.”

He called on Labour to “lead the debate” about changing EU rules on free movement rather than defend the current system. He added: “This won’t be a swift argument to win, but we will get more credit for trying than for avoiding the issue. [Angela] Merkel won’t let Germany pay for southern Europe. Why should we cope with the migration consequences if Eurozone failure?”

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is seeking some curbs on free movement after arrivals from southern Europe scuppered the Tories’ hopes of reducing net migration to under 100,000 a year by next year, but Labour has called only for delays to free movement rights when new member states  join the EU.

Mr Denham’s intervention will fuel a heated debate in Labour’s ranks after Ukip captured more working class votes than Labour had expected in last month’s Euro elections. Allies of Mr Miliband believe there would be little chance of persuading the other 27 EU members to reduce migration. “We want realistic and credible reforms, not pie in the sky options,” one said.

Tony Blair meanwhile has accused Nigel Farage of "traducing" Britain ,"deceiving" voters and fuelling grievances about immigration and Europe. He urged politicians not to pander to "unpleasant prejudices" and an "attitude which says we don't like foreigners".

Speaking at the London Business School, the former Prime Minister said: “It's very dangerous and wrong for the leaders of British politics to think you are going to address the concerns of people who are worried about jobs, their future... to play into an idea that what's holding them back is someone else is coming along and taking their opportunity from them. It isn't true.”

David Cameron said freedom of movement was not an "unqualified right", adding: “When new countries join there should be much longer transitional controls, particularly when you've got countries with very different economic levels so we avoid the large migrations of the past.”

The Conservatives are on course to win Thursday’s by-election in Newark, according to a poll by Lord Ashcroft, the party’s former deputy chairman. It puts the Tories on 42 per cent, Ukip on 27 per cent and Labour on 20 per cent. A national poll by him shows  Labour on 34 per cent, the Tories on 25 per cent, Ukip on 19 per cent and the Liberal Democrats six per cent, their lowest since the Coalition was formed.

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?