Balls demands tighter control of EU immigration

Balls: 'It is important we are honest about what we got wrong'
Balls: 'It is important we are honest about what we got wrong'

By staff

Labour leadership contender Ed Balls has said new restrictions on EU immigration to Britain need to be considered.

The shadow education secretary said British workers would need new protections in case of a further expansion of EU immigration.

Speaking on the Politics Show this afternoon Mr Balls said he warned Gordon Brown that "brushing immigration under the carpet" was a mistake.

Government immigration policies do not affect EU migration, which is responsible for around 80% of the people coming to Britain.

Many analysts believe white working class voters deserted Labour because it would not address their concerns about immigration from Eastern Europe.

"There have been real economic gains from the arrival of young, hard-working migrants from eastern Europe over the past six years," Mr Balls said.

"But there has also been a direct impact on the wages, terms and conditions of too many people - in communities ill-prepared to deal with the reality of globalisation, including the one I represent.

"As Labour seeks to rebuild trust with the British people, it is important we are honest about what we got wrong."

Those failures included the absence of transitional controls on immigration during the accession of new EU states in 2004, and in the late implementation of the agency workers directive.

The long-time confidant of Gordon Brown said any discussion of Turkish accession to the EU would need to be subject to restrictions on the movement of unskilled labour for an extended time.


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