Tony Blair talks with Ed Miliband during a Loyal Address service to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall in London on March 20, 2012. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Miliband will follow Blair's advice on an EU referendum but not on immigration

He has broken unambiguously with the open borders stance adopted by the former PM.

"The Master", as some Conservative ministers like to refer to him, emerged on the Today programme this morning to offer his response to Ukip's "political earthquake". Tony Blair advised Ed Miliband to "stay firm" by refusing to match David Cameron's guarantee of an in/out EU referendum and implied that the Labour leader was wrong to have apologised for his party's failure to impose transitional controls on eastern European immigration.

He said: "I personally would very strongly support the position we took, both in Europe and in immigration more generally. Remember, I fought the 2005 election on a campaign against immigration from the then Conservative leader."

Miliband certainly agrees with Blair on the first point. As I've previously reported, he will not bow to pressure from some Labour MPs to change his stance on an EU referendum (which is to only hold a vote in the unlikely event of a further transfer of powers to Brussels). Miliband rightly believes that he would derive little or no political benefit from doing so (the issue is not a primary concern even for Ukip voters) and is not prepared to risk the opening years of his premiership being dominated by a referendum that he could lose (an event that would almost certainly force his resignation).

But he will not be taking Blair's advice on immigration. Miliband has abandoned the globalist, open borders stance adopted by Blair in favour of a Blue Labour position that supports greater regulation of labour markets as well as of financial markets. Having apologised for Labour's failure to control eastern European immigration in the past (an issue that rose dramatically in significance after Blair's departure from office) , he has pledged to apply the "maximum transitional controls" to future member states. Alongside this, he has vowed to ban recruitment agencies from only advertising for migrant workers and to require large domestic firms to train a British apprentice for each worker they employ from outside the EU.  The stance advocated by Blair - a full-throated defence of the benefits of high immigration and EU integration - is identical to that taken by Nick Clegg; it would prove politically suicidal for Labour.

Where Miliband has also departed from Blairism is in supporting greater market intervention to address the problems - stagnant wages, extortionate prices and excessive rents - for which anxiety over immigration is frequently a proxy.  Expect to hear more on the need for change when the Labour leader gives his first substantial response to the local and European election results in Thurrock (the scene of a Ukip victory over Labour last week) today.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Labour is a pioneer in fighting sexism. That doesn't mean there's no sexism in Labour

While we campaign against misogyny, we must not fall into the trap of thinking Labour is above it; doing so lets women members down and puts the party in danger of not taking them seriously when they report incidents. 

I’m in the Labour party to fight for equality. I cheered when Labour announced that one of its three Budget tests was ensuring the burden of cuts didn’t fall on women. I celebrated the party’s record of winning rights for women on International Women’s Day. And I marched with Labour women to end male violence against women and girls.

I’m proud of the work we’re doing for women across the country. But, as the Labour party fights for me to feel safer in society, I still feel unsafe in the Labour party.

These problems are not unique to the Labour party; misogyny is everywhere in politics. You just have to look on Twitter to see women MPs – and any woman who speaks out – receiving rape and death threats. Women at political events are subject to threatening behaviour and sexual harassment. Sexism and violence against women at its heart is about power and control. And, as we all know, nowhere is power more highly-prized and sought-after than in politics.

While we campaign against misogyny, we must not fall into the trap of thinking Labour is above it; doing so lets women members down and puts the party in danger of not taking them seriously when they report incidents. 

The House of Commons’ women and equalities committee recently stated that political parties should have robust procedures in place to prevent intimidation, bullying or sexual harassment. The committee looked at this thanks to the work of Gavin Shuker, who has helped in taking up this issue since we first started highlighting it. Labour should follow this advice, put its values into action and change its structures and culture if we are to make our party safe for women.

We need thorough and enforced codes of conduct: online, offline and at all levels of the party, from branches to the parliamentary Labour party. These should be made clear to everyone upon joining, include reminders at the start of meetings and be up in every campaign office in the country.

Too many members – particularly new and young members – say they don’t know how to report incidents or what will happen if they do. This information should be given to all members, made easily available on the website and circulated to all local parties.

Too many people – including MPs and local party leaders – still say they wouldn’t know what to do if a local member told them they had been sexually harassed. All staff members and people in positions of responsibility should be given training, so they can support members and feel comfortable responding to issues.

Having a third party organisation or individual to deal with complaints of this nature would be a huge help too. Their contact details should be easy to find on the website. This organisation should, crucially, be independent of influence from elsewhere in the party. This would allow them to perform their role without political pressures or bias. We need a system that gives members confidence that they will be treated fairly, not one where members are worried about reporting incidents because the man in question holds power, has certain political allies or is a friend or colleague of the person you are supposed to complain to.

Giving this third party the resources and access they need to identify issues within our party and recommend further changes to the NEC would help to begin a continuous process of improving both our structures and culture.

Labour should champion a more open culture, where people feel able to report incidents and don't have to worry about ruining their career or facing political repercussions if they do so. Problems should not be brushed under the carpet. It takes bravery to admit your faults. But, until these problems are faced head-on, they will not go away.

Being the party of equality does not mean Labour is immune to misogyny and sexual harassment, but it does mean it should lead the way on tackling it.

Now is the time for Labour to practice what it preaches and prove it is serious about women’s equality.

Bex Bailey was on Labour’s national executive committee from 2014 to 2016.