Blair urges Labour not to change stance on immigration

28 May 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair says mainstream parties must stand up to the anti-immigration and anti-European stance of Ukip, which overtook them at last week’s European Parliamentary elections.

The ex-Labour leader said it would be wrong for the party’s current leader Ed Miliband to now change his stance to oppose immigration to the UK.

In an interview on BBC Radio 4, Mr Blair said: "For the Labour party, if it tries to follow Ukip either on its anti-European platform or, even worse frankly, on its anti-immigrant platform, all that will happen is that it will confuse its own supporters and will not draw any greater support."

He said he continued to support the same position his government took on both immigration and Europe, when he fought the 2005 General Election against a Conservative party campaigning against immigration.

"Of course you have got to have proper controls on immigration, you to have to deal with those parts of the immigrant community that are rejecting the idea of integrating into the mainstream, but to allow that then to trend into anti-immigrant feeling is a huge mistake for the country," Mr Blair added.

He also urged Labour not to change its position to support an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, which the Conservatives have promised if they win the next election.

Mr Blair, who said there was something "pretty nasty and unpleasant" about Ukip, said that modern-day London is the great capital city it is today because of the mixture of different people who now live and work there, The Guardian reported.