18 May 2010

UK immigration and housing key issues for new Labour leader

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Possible candidates for the Labour party leadership are being discussed as the party analyses what went wrong for the party during the election.

Two candidates for the party leadership are the Miliband brothers, although it is possible Gordon Brown’s trusted advisor Ed Balls may be a contender. 

Political commentators have said that whoever becomes leader of the opposition will have a difficult problem in carving out a distinct political path, as the party seeks to re-engage the public on issues.

In analysing what when wrong for the party during the election there is a degree of consensus that action on UK Immigration was needed, as was a more progressive campaign for political reform.  

Ed Miliband said that the party was too "casual" in its attitude to civil liberties.

Ed Miliband told the BBC: "We need to reconnect with the people we lost. We lost people who have been traditionally Labour voters over issues such as immigration."

His brother David Miliband said that the party had been "playing catch-up on immigration and housing".

 "Labour lost the election because our conversation with the public broke down," he said.

Ed Balls, writing for the Independent, said: "People knew we had done great things ... but they felt we had stopped listening. They just did not believe we were hearing their concerns on immigration, welfare, housing."

Political commentators say that the party faces a difficult task to trump the current government, who has already agreed to a proposed cap in UK immigration and to introduce a Freedom Bill to eliminate ID cards and defend trial by jury.

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