Yvette Cooper Labour
Yvette Cooper says Labour has been 'squeamish' on immigrationReuters

A top challenger for the Labour leadership has slammed her own party's "squeamish" immigration policy, saying migration need to be "controlled" and "managed".

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told BBC Newsnight on 29 May said: "I think it's not so much about exactly what the detail of the policies are, it's about not being squeamish about talking about immigration.

"Because it's important for Britain, but it has to be controlled and managed so that the system is fair... we should talk about the way we control and manage it but also the way you can benefit from high skilled migration from students coming from Britain."

Cooper, the wife of former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls - is one of four MPs who standing for the Labour leadership with Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Mary Creagh.

Candidates are required to gather the signatures of 35 MPs by 15 June and the winner will be announced on 12 September.

Cooper also said Labour members who had called for the party to skip a generation when choosing a new leader, were "trapped in the past", and were "fighting battles from 2004 and 2005... [and] wanting to settle old scores from the Labour Party's history".

She also said that she made "no apology for having experience" when the job is so tough.

As for the party's pre-financial crash policy of racking up debt, Cooper admitted: "I'm saying that ideally you would have had it in surplus, so yes, we should have had it in surplus by that time.

"However, what was the consequence of that? The Tories want to say that either it caused the financial crisis which it clearly didn't, or they want to say that it made it harder to deal with the financial crisis which it also didn't."