LABOUR leader Ed Miliband pledged to tackle the issue of immigration as he visited south Essex following a “bad night” at last week’s local elections.

Mr Miliband spoke at the High House Production Park in Purfleet yesterday and admitted his party had suffered at the hands of Nigel Farage and Ukip in last Thursday’s local elections He pledged his party would double its efforts ahead of next year’s general election and would tackle the thorny issue of immigration which dominated Ukip’s election campaign.

Mr Miliband said: “Our stance on immigration is to show that we understand people’s concerns, to show we don’t dismiss being concerned about immigration as prejudice, because it looked like we did that in the past and I don’t think that’s the right thing for us to do as a party.”

He added: “We’ve got to stop the undercutting of wages and deal with that, making sure you don’t pay below the minimum wage, it’s about gang masters recruiting people and again undermining wages and conditions, and it’s about agency work.”

The Labour leader also said Ukip would now face much more scrutiny following its success.

Mr Miliband said: “I was on the sofa with Nigel Farage during this campaign on the BBC, talking about his commitment to charge for the NHS, which is important, about cutting taxes for the richest, about keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive, and there will be a lot more scrutiny of UKIP running up to the next election.”