07 June 2010

Brown ignored UK immigration warnings, says Ed Balls

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Former prime minister Gordon Brown was told not to brush concerns about UK immigration “under the carpet” and that the scale of the error was apparent after the disastrous encounter with the Labour voter Gillian Duffy.

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Brown ignored UK immigration concerns and this was a serious error in the election, Mr Balls said.

“I said to him that he should have been talking immigration for the last year and a half and it was a mistake to brush it under the carpet,” the union-backed Labour leadership contender said.

“What Mrs Duffy said is what Labour supporters and other have been saying for the last year and a half. Mrs Duffy wasn’t raising a race point, she was talking about jobs and education. If we don’t respond to those concerns we will pay a very high price,” he said.

Mr Balls has called for an end to the free UK immigration of workers from the EU saying that means re-examining the relationship between domestic laws and European rules which allow unaccompanied migrants to send child benefit and tax credits back to families at home.

The UK immigration minister Damian Green has accused Mr Balls of hypocrisy, as he was at the Treasury in 2004 when the department pushed through the Labour Party’s open-door UK immigration policy.

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