Ed Balls insists that he will buy a Labour immigration mug, despite attacks from within the party over its “shameful” message promising controls and restrictions.
Labour‘s shadow chancellor has said that although he has not yet purchased the merchandise, he still wants it “for his campaign office”.
Speaking to Sky News, he added: “There’s got to be tough controls on immigration, and you’ve got to know the people who come here contribute before they get any benefits.
“It’s a pledge from us, it’s on the mug and I’m hoping after the general election I can do a toast in that mug as we get on and change Britain for the better.”
The mugs have been branded with the party’s five election pledges, including tighter controls on immigration.
However, several Labour party frontbenchers criticised the cup, with Hackney MP Diane Abbott branding it as an “embarrassment”, before slating the decision to include immigration in the party’s key vows at all.
This shameful mug is an embarrassment. But real problem is that immigration controls are one of our 5 pledges at all pic.twitter.com/4xslD22Gcm
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) March 29, 2015
Among party members not buying a mug are shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna and shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan, who told LBC Radio on Monday that the message on them was not sufficiently clear.
Mr Khan said: “I personally would not buy the mug.
Sometimes people misunderstand what the mug means. Sadiq Khan
“I think it can be misconstrued and what’s important is that we are quite clear what we mean by our policies.”
He said: “Sometimes people misunderstand what the mug means.”
Meanwhile, Mr Umunna told reporters after the launch of Labour’s business manifesto on Monday that “Diane (Abbott) can speak for herself”. He added: “I’m clear about where I am on this and so is Ed (Miliband).
“You are not going to have a Labour party dog whistling.
“I’m not going to be buying any mugs. I’m going to be on the campaign trail in all the different parts of the country winning support for Labour,” he added.
The Green party has launched its own rival mug, featuring the slogan “Standing up for Migrants”.
— The Green Party (@TheGreenParty) March 30, 2015
The party’s leader Natalie Bennett said: “The Labour mug highlights a serious issue – the way in which politicians have pandered to Ukip instead of standing up to them.
“The Green party is clear – it is government policy, not immigrants, that is responsible for major problems in our society such as low wages, overstretched schools and hospitals and a shortage of housing.
It is government policy, not immigrants, that is responsible for major problems in our society. Natalie Bennett
“The Green party want an immigration system that treats people fairly. We’d see an end to routine immigration detention, a fair approach to refugees and a system that doesn’t break up families.”