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Following UKIP’s surge to victory in the recent European and council elections, which seemed to be hugely influenced by their stance on immigration, the British people were probably expecting the less-victorious political parties to follow suit and change their message on immigration issues. However, despite the topic of immigration being hot in the UK political arena following the UKIP election wins, Labour leader Ed Milliband yesterday ruled out changing his party’s stance on both immigration and EU membership.
Accusing UKIP of blaming “Europe and foreigners” for the problems that Britain is currently facing, including increasing tensions over immigration, Ed Milliband also insinuated that UKIP had played on the fears of the nation, many of which were unfounded amid inflated figures published in the media.
Mr Milliband stated that immigration does need to be spoken about and discussed in the political arena, particularly by the Labour party, but that it can be spoken about in a positive and “progressive way”, rather than escalating or playing upon rising tensions. Insisting that “cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world” by making false promises on immigration would be bad for Britain, Ed Milliband was adamant that the Labour party would not be changing its views or policies on immigration under his leadership, stating that Britain’s future “lies in looking out to the world”.
These comments from the Labour leader come hot on the heels of Conservative MP for Swindon South, Robert Buckland speaking out against David Cameron’s mention of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. In his rant, which has been somewhat controversial to his fellow Conservative party members, Mr Buckland told The Daily Telegraph that he strongly believed that EU membership and immigration to the UK by EU nationals is “essential” to the future of the UK. He was speaking after 2013 figures were released that estimated over 200,000 EU nationals came to the UK during the last year.