Labour MPs Told Not to Campaign on Immigration in Secret Ukip Strategy Document

Ben Riley-Smith, Telegraph, December 14, 2014

Labour MPs have been secretly ordered not to campaign on immigration because doing so could cost them the next election, the Telegraph can reveal.

A private strategy document circulated by Labour HQ and seen by this newspaper warns that the bigger immigration becomes as a campaign issue the more votes the party will lose.

MPs are told to focus on “moving the conversation on” if voters express concerns about border controls to topics Labour is stronger on such as healthcare or housing.

They are also urged not to send leaflets on immigration to all voters because it could be “unhelpful” and “risks undermining the broad coalition of support we need to return to government”.

The revelations are a major embarrassment for Ed Miliband, who is expected to tell voters Labour understands their immigration concerns and harden the party’s stance on cheap foreign workers in a major speech on Monday.

Some Labour MPs have reacted with fury over the strategy document, calling it an “April Fools” joke and accusing the leadership of trying to “massage” their relationship with constituents.

The 33-page document, entitled “Campaigning against Ukip”, was produced by the Labour Party and recently distributed to dozens of MPs in danger of losing votes to Ukip alongside detailed constituency maps pinpointing where possible defectors can be found.

The guidance, which was never meant to be made public, shows for the first time the party leadership has accepted Ukip is seriously hurting them in the North and reveals in remarkable detail Labour’s entire election strategy for countering the threat.

Strategists admit some working class Labour voters “feel that the party has left them behind in pursuit of better-educated, middle-class, white-collar voters” and warn that its traditional stronghold in “coalfield communities” is now under threat.

Private party polling, target voters, doorstep messages to be “carefully dropped into conversations” and specific catchphrases to win back disaffected constituents are all detailed in the leaked document.

But perhaps the most damaging revelations concern advice given to Labour MPs about how to approach immigration–an issue the party has been accused of being too soft on in recent years after soaring net migration numbers under New Labour.

The document makes clear that with Ukip-leaning voters, activists should listen to their immigration concerns and outline Labour’s policies for tackling the issue with tightening border controls and limiting access to benefits.

However it also warns MPs that the party loses votes the more “salient” immigration becomes as an election issue and urges them against contacting all constituents on the topic.

“Writing to electors proactively (i.e.: without evidence the elector is concerned about it) about immigration risks undermining the broad coalition of support we need to return to government,” the document says.

Doing so would “inevitably be hitting some people for whom it is unhelpful to raise the salience of immigration as an issue”.

The document notes: “As a general rule, a higher salience for the issue [immigration] does not translate into electoral advantage for us.”

Elsewhere MPs are told: “Immigration is the issue people most often cite when explaining support for Ukip . . . It does not however follow that campaigning on immigration issues and emphasising our policies in our conversations with electors is always the correct response.”

Labour MPs are also urged to focus on “moving the conversation on to issues where we have clear policy” if confronted with concerns about immigration, such as healthcare and housing.

Having the party’s entire strategy for tackling Ukip leaked to the media just five months before the general election is likely to cause fury among the leadership and undermine its chances of success.

Labour MPs have reacted angrily to the document’s suggestion that the best way to deal with the threat from Ukip is not to tackle the issue head-on.

Frank Field, a former welfare minister, said: “I think this must be an April Fools’ Day pack because not campaigning on immigration is exactly what Ukip wants us to do.”

A Labour MP who received the pack but asked not to be named said: “We are trying to massage the relationship between us and the electorate in the hope that they won’t notice that we’ve been weak in this area. It is just a sad state of affair.”

There are other intriguing insights in the document. The Labour voter most likely to defect to Ukip is identified by strategists as a 47- to 66-year-old Yorkshireman who never went to university and is either in “low skilled work” or is “unemployed”.

MPs are advised to characterise Ukip as “More Tory than the Tories” to win back older Labour defectors but play up the party’s NHS policies to sway younger voters unfamiliar with the Thatcher and Major governments.

Candidates are also told personally to telephone possible Ukip switchers within two weeks of identification and follow up with further campaign material. “Votes that can be won (and lost) in the fight against UKIP,” the document warns.

A Labour spokesman said: “This story is nonsense. This is a 33-page document in which the Daily Telegraph is interested in taking only a few lines out of context.”

“This document sets out clearly how candidates and activists will explain our policies on immigration and seek to explain how they fit into an overall vision for a country that works for everyday working people not just a few.

“Today Ed Miliband will deliver his fourth major intervention on immigration and publish our second key election pledge which is also on immigration. This reflects the priority which he and the Labour Party attach to an issue on which the Labour Party and many voters have deep concern.”

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  • It wasn’t that long ago that UKIP was thought only to bleed votes away from the Tories. The Labour Party won’t be pushing this strategy unless they had some credible polling or evidence that shows that UKIP can take away a lot of Labour voters.

    • See The Future

      They need more than 10-20 percent. They need a shutout!

    • David Ashton

      UKIP must take voters away from Labour as well as Conservatives. It is under sustained attack, especially by the Murdoch-Finkelstein-Aaronovitch-Kamm-Coren-Rifkind tabloid “The Times”. Not helped by recent ramshackle and stupid events, nor perhaps by its Treasurer’s announcement to “The Jewish Chronicle” that UKIP is “The party of immigration” and that Britain was built by “refugees”. The best thing about UKIP is precisely a national protest against years of incompetent and dishonest three-“party” misgovernment.

  • anony

    Throughout Europe, the “establishment” is terrified of the inexorable rise of the “will of the people”. They are scrambling to find a way to stifle it.

    Keep rising, people. Watch and learn, America!

    • See The Future

      The media and the political elites are your enemy.

      • KenelmDigby

        Of course they are.

  • See The Future

    All you have to do is walk in the street and you know which party to vote for.

    The party with the zero immigration and deportation policy.

    Do not listen to the lies of the governing party. Look in the street, see the results of their policies. You are a couple of steps away from losing your country forever.

    • David Ashton

      Not the UKIP but the next best thing for now.

  • JohnEngelman

    The Labour Party will not be able to avoid this issue any more than the Democratic Party was able to avoid the issue of black ghetto riots and black crime during the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

    Labour Party MP’s can try to change the subject. Their traditional constituents will change it right back.

  • superlloyd

    The labour party are largely to blame for creating the toilet that is the UK these days due to the untrammelled immigration of many undesirable, useless and criminal elements. They deserve to be written out of political history for their treachery to the indigenous white British people. Nice to see that they are running scared. The tories under Cameron are no better and deserve the same fate.

  • David Ashton

    This is totally counterproductive now the “secret advice” is public knowledge.
    As the leftist critics quite correctly noted, “If you agree with UKIP [on immigration] don’t vote for them” is not exactly a winning approach on the doorstep.

  • TruthBeTold

    MPs are told to focus on “moving the conversation on” if voters express
    concerns about border controls to topics Labour is stronger on such as
    healthcare or housing.

    I strongly suspect that issues of healthcare and housing are linked to immigration.

    • rightrightright

      There is a third H – handouts.

  • KenelmDigby

    I’ve been writing in Amren for years and years and years about how the British political class – and most particularly the depraved New Labour administration of 1997 to 2010 had a secret agenda to foist massive, uncontrolled, third world immigration onto Britain without the consent of the British people. I’ve also commented about the incipient UKIP led anti-immigration political backlash that is taking grip in Britain.
    Well, the irony is that the Labour Party sowed the seeds. Now they must reap the whirlwind.

    • me

      Voting New Labor out is not enough. They should all be put in prison for treason.

    • MathMan

      Uncontrolled immigration into UK (mainly unskilled Africans and Pakistanis) was a secret policy by Tony Blair knowing that these newcomers would boost the Labour vote. A man called Andrew Neather was charged by Blair with running the program and he eventually blew the whistle on it. Google his name to find out more.

  • KenelmDigby

    I urge all readers here to Google Andrew Neather’s truimphalist pro mass uncontrolled immigration article of 2009. Andrew Neather was or is a very, very senior Labour Party apparatchik.
    That article, and not the damned vote grubbing lies Labour is now peddling to the gullible in a desperate attempt to win power for themselves, shows you what real Labour Party thinking is despite the foul-breathed lies uttered from their hallitosised dirty mouths.

    • me

      Don’t worry. This is going to snowball. The effects of mass immigration is going to force the British peoples to recognize the threats of Labor and shut Labor down, once and for all. I wish they’d prosecute each and every one of them.

  • From the summary of this, it appears to be the same old tactic to me:- “the message” to get enough people to be fooled into voting for Labour again.

    We already know that Labour is reliant on the non-white/immigrant vote. Some 75% of them vote Labour and they hold the “swing” in many parts of the country as to whether Labour can win an election.

    There are still a lot of gullible and ‘anti-white’ white voters out there who vote Labour, or just through habit or through a hatred of the Tories. UKIP is now appearing as an alternative.

    Labour strategy, therefore, is to NOT mention immigration on the whole because they risk alienating immigrants that vote labour.

    This ‘non-mention’ is to apply until they are in direct contact with WHITE constituents who bring it up.

    At that point they feign that they are going to “tackle” it, and try and CON the voter into crossing the Labour box on the voting slip.

    When in office, it will be business as usual!

  • baldridge999

    Anti-whites trying to hide their subversion and manage their retreat. Anyone who falls for this is an absolute moron.

  • Yves Vannes

    If you’ve traveled to the UK recently, the first busy street you walked down would make a mockery of the idea that “hiding” the immigration issue.- unless you are deaf, dumb and blind.

  • Paleoconn

    I believe the sentiment of a Labour bigwig in the late 90s was something about ‘rubbing the Right’s nose in multiculturalism’. They used to be so proud of their immigration track record, and now they want to hide it? The people are awakening.