LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband promised to crack down on immigration if his party is elected next year, seeking to woo voters tempted by the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP), which could threaten his chances of winning power.
The increasing popularity of UKIP, which wants tighter immigration controls along with an EU exit, has pushed Britain’s main parties to take a tougher line.
Labour has traditionally been more positive towards immigration than its political rivals and its last period in power, from 1997 to 2010, saw high rates of immigration.
Last week Prime Minister David Cameron also hardened his line on the issue, saying more needed to be done and promising he would outline new plans in the coming weeks.
His governing Conservative Party has already lost two of its MPs to UKIP, which won its first parliamentary seat earlier this month and is on course to win a second on Nov. 20, according to a poll on Thursday.
Speaking in southeast England where that single-seat vote is taking place, Miliband promised a Labour government would introduce new laws on immigration in its first year, including preventing recruitment agencies hiring only from abroad.
Greater controls would be put in place at borders to keep track of who has come in and out of the country, he said, also pledging to seek EU reforms including lengthening the period before migrants are entitled to claim welfare payments.
“Our plan to make this country work for your family also includes addressing immigration,” Miliband said, adding that he would set out further plans on immigration in the coming months.
Read more at Reuters