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Miliband set for policy clash with his own MPs: Labour leader plans to woo middle Britain with tougher stance on immigration
Labour MPs remain firmly opposed to curbs on immigration and red tapeSome 49% said restrictions on immigration would harm economy
Miliband says he has learned 'hard truths' about what Labour 'got wrong'
00:33 GMT, 28 December 2012
00:33 GMT, 28 December 2012
New Year's message: Ed Miliband hopes to focus on rebuilding the economy and helping struggling families
Labour MPs remain firmly opposed to curbs on immigration and red tape, a survey reveals today – as Ed Miliband pledges to unveil a string of policies to woo middle Britain.
In his New Year’s message the Labour leader says the party will finally begin setting out its policies for the next election, with a focus on rebuilding the economy and helping struggling families.
Mr Miliband insists he has learned ‘hard truths’ about what Labour ‘got wrong’ on issues like immigration in the past.
In recent weeks Mr Miliband has flirted with taking a tougher stance on immigration without spelling out how he would limit the number of migrants coming to the UK.
But a new Ipsos/Mori survey suggests that his own MPs remain opposed to a crackdown on immigration.
Some 49 per cent of Labour MPs surveyed said that placing any restriction on immigration would harm the competitiveness of Britain’s economy. Just 22 per cent said immigration controls would not be damaging.
By contrast, 82 per cent of Conservative MPs said that immigration restrictions would not harm the economy.
In his New Year message Mr Miliband also pledges to bring forward new proposals to kickstart the economy, including plans to help ‘small businesses struggling against the odds’.
But the Ipsos/Mori survey reveals that Labour MPs remain deeply opposed to any effort to slash red tape, which is routinely cited as a major problem for small business. Not a single Labour MP agreed that the level of regulation faced by British business was damaging the economy. Almost two thirds (64 per cent) said red tape was not holding back economic growth.
Former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling (pictured left) may quite politics rather than take a Shadow Cabinet job. There is speculation that he could replace Ed Balls (right) as Shadow Chancellor
By contrast, 87 per cent of Tory MPs cited red tape as a key factor in holding back Britain’s economy.
Mr Miliband ordered a major policy review in the wake of the 2010 election defeat, saying he would start with a ‘blank sheet of paper’. But so far the review has not produced any major policies.
In a further blow yesterday it emerged that the former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling may quit politics rather than take a Shadow Cabinet job in the run-up to the next election.
Speculation has been mounting at Westminster in recent weeks that Mr Darling could make a dramatic return as Shadow Chancellor as part of a drive to improve Labour’s faltering credibility on the economy. The move would see him replace Ed Balls, whose role in helping Gordon Brown run up the huge budget deficit left by Labour is set to be a key election issue.
Mr Darling, 59, is one of the few figures to emerge from the last Government with his credibility intact after standing up to Mr Brown’s demands for more spending, and helping to shore up the banks.