Ukip must deal with its ‘racists’, says Labour


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Ukip needs to address the “racists” in its party, said the shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, yesterday, while admitting immigration is “a concern” in the party.

Labour has recently increased the tone of its rhetoric on immigration, backing an extension of the time to six months that EU migrants must be in the UK before claiming out-of-work benefits.

After Labour narrowly avoided disaster last week, when the party was only 617 votes away from losing the safe seat of Heywood and Middleton to Ukip, Ed Miliband sought to calm fears by promising a “hard-headed” approach to immigration that would include stronger border controls, laws to end exploitation, and reforms to ensure that immigrants “earn the right” to claim benefits in the UK. A close source denied this meant that the party is turning to the right or “aping Ukip”.

In an article in The Observer yesterday, Mr Miliband said the ability of new migrants to claim benefits must be based on principles of “contribution, responsibility and fairness”.

Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, echoed this on The Andrew Marr Show: “If people want to claim contributory benefits they should have been here long enough to pay into the system before they get [anything] out.”

Interviewed on Sky News, Chuka Umunna said: “Of course, there are racists in Ukip. That is unfortunate and something they need to address. They say terrible things about different parts of our society.”