Mr Miliband described many UKIP voters as “hardworking people” who “love our country.”
But he said that UKIP’s view of Europe and immigration “is not the answer for our country.”
“This will never be Labour’s mission or policy under my leadership,” Mr Miliband told supporters in Thurrock, a council last Labour last week lost control of thanks to the UKIP surge in the local elections.
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It came after senior Labour figures including Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, and Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, called on Mr Miliband to go further on immigration to tackle the threat posed by UKIP and Nigel Farage.
In the wake of the European elections, Mr Balls said that Labour needs to speak “more loudly and clearly” on immigration and Europe.
He said: “Labour would have controls when people arrive and leave here, we will tackle the undercutting of wages, we will ensure people in public services speak English and people need to earn their entitlements.
“But a Labour government won’t make false promises, or cut ourselves off from the rest of the world because it would be bad for Britain.
“These are the right principles for our immigration policy.
“And in the end, if we are to meet the concerns people have, we need to do far more than have the right immigration policy.
“We need more change in the way this country’s economy works for the people I am talking about – people who work hard, do the right thing, but feel the country doesn’t work for them.”
Mr Miliband said that UKIP is “exploiting” the failure of previous Labour governments to address the concerns of working class voters.
“Labour was founded on standing up for working people,” he said. “But for too many that link was lost. That is what UKIP has sought to exploit. We know what their appeal is.
“They provide a simple explanation of the cause of our country’s problems: Europe and foreigners. And they have an apparently simple solution: to get out of the European Union. I have to say: this is not the answer for our country, this will never be Labour’s mission or policy under my leadership. Our future lies in looking outward to the world.”
Mr Miliband said that his party has to learn that it is “not right-wing” to talk about immigration.
“We’ll get a lot more scrutiny of UKIP in the run-up to the next election,” he said. “The thing I’d obviously say to you though, is it’s not right-wing for us to talk about immigration.
“We’ve got to be able as a party to talk about immigration.”