Ed Miliband – it’s not prejudiced to be concerned about immigration
Labour leader tries to reach out to Ukip voters in Thurrock following party’s success in local and European elections.
Many people who vote for Ukip love Britain and “do the right thing” in their communities, Ed Miliband has said as he moved to reach out to disaffected voters who have abandoned mainstream political parties.
In a sign of Labour’s concerns about the threat posed by Ukip, Miliband said that people who have concerns about immigration are not prejudiced because they have seen Britain change at a rapid pace over recent decades.
The Labour leader delivered his conciliatory message on Tuesday to Ukip voters in the marginal seat of Thurrock in Essex after Nigel Farage’s party captured five council seats, depriving Labour of control of the local council. A continuing Ukip presence in the seat could pose a threat to Labour, which should capture the seat with a swing of just 0.1% from the Tories to Labour.
Miliband said that Ukip’s triumph in the local and European electionscould be explained by Farage’s success in exploiting many of the concerns he has highlighted since he became Labour leader. These are a sense of dislocation in a rapidly changing world and the struggle to make ends meet after such a deep recession.
The Labour leader said: “Some of the people who voted for Ukip came from that part of working Britain who do the right thing, who work hard for a living and are really, really struggling to make ends meet. They are in tough jobs but life is a real struggle for them.
“They are people who love our country but they are people who are saying the country is not working for me. They feel left behind by what has happened to Britain – some people, who in years gone by, would have been Labour till they die, some people whose parents have always been Labour, whose grandparents have always been Labour.”