Ed Miliband Accused of Contempt for Voters After His Polling Guru Said Their Anti-Immigration Views Made Him ‘Depressed’
Glen Owen, Daily Mail (London), December 7, 2013
Ed Miliband was last night accused of displaying contempt for voters after his polling guru said their anti-immigration views made him ‘depressed’.
James Morris made a series of scornful remarks after holding a focus group meeting intended to help the party devise Election-winning policies on the issue.
Mr Morris, a key member of the Labour leader’s strategy unit, dismissed the views of those present as ‘fill jobs with Brits’.
His outburst reflects tensions among Mr Miliband’s team over immigration. The party is haunted by claims that the last Labour Government was responsible for mass immigration from Eastern Europe–and divided over whether Mr Miliband should take a stronger line.
Mr Morris, a former No 10 adviser to Tony Blair at the time of the ‘open-door’ policy, used the social-networking website Twitter to announce on Monday evening: ‘Recipe for a miserable evening: off to do focus groups on immigration.’
And afterwards, he wrote, in a line dripping with sarcasm: ‘Tonight’s focus groups as progressive as I hoped,’ adding: ‘Their plan: end migration and fill jobs with Brits who have to take job.’
He declared that it had left him ‘depressed, as you might imagine’.
The liberal views on immigration of many of Labour’s frontbenchers are not shared by most voters.
In a recent opinion poll, 72 per cent of respondents favoured slamming the door on unskilled immigrants, while 59 per cent thought we should allow fewer relatives of people already living in Britain into the country to join them.
The findings forced Mr Miliband to announce that, if he wins the next Election, he will introduce measures to help British workers.
Last night, Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi said of Mr Morris’s remarks: ‘This shows the contempt Labour and Ed Miliband have for the public. They don’t want to hear people’s views about immigration.
‘Instead they want to censor and shut down any sensible and rational debate on an extremely important subject.
‘It’s the same old Labour. Anyone who doesn’t share their world view is mocked and attacked.’
A spokesman for Ed Miliband declined to comment.