The immigration minister today welcomed an admission by Labour that it failed in office to act more quickly to bring down numbers of migrants coming to Britain.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, conceded today that the last Government misjudged its migration policies.
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, is expected to make the same admission in a speech tomorrow and to set out new proposals to toughen the visa regime.
Ms Cooper said in a newspaper article: “We didn’t do enough to address people’s concerns on immigration. By the election, we had lost the argument — people felt that the system was unfair and politicians weren’t listening. We need to change.”
But Damian Green, the Immigration minister, told the Independent: “This feels to me eerily reminiscent of Gordon Brown talking about British jobs for British workers.
“Unless they are proposing to rewrite the rules of the European Union they could be promising to deliver in an area where action is least likely.”
He added: “All apologies, even belated apologies, are welcome. Labour clearly got immigration horribly wrong under the previous government.
“But they won’t show any support for measures to limit immigration that we have proposed – they opposed the limit on work visas. Only time will tell whether this is hot air or it’s a genuine change of heart.”