Frank Field and David Cameron
The former welfare minister suggested that MPs could defy party whips on immigration Getty

The main UK political parties could "break up" because they have not addressed people's concerns over immigration, according to a senior Labour MP.

Frank Field argued that Ed Miliband and the Prime Minister David Cameron have not done enough to answer the public's anger over mass immigration into Britain.

The former welfare minister suggested that MPs could defy party whips on immigration and make independent pledges on the issue.

The Birkenhead MP and the UK government's poverty tsar compared the issue to the reaction against the Corn Laws, when the urban working class opposed 1815 measures to artificially inflate the price of the grain.

"Immigration has the power that the Corn Laws did, to break up parties," Field told the Daily Telegraph.

"Many MPs will be making personal commitments on this. I shall be one of them. Others will too. They will want to survive."

"The temporary restriction of immigration must be the cornerstone of our renegotiation.

"This election will be the beginning of the break up, but it is the election after next where the electorate will have a clear view of which parties supported it and which did not."

Field also argued that the failure of the main parties to discuss the issue of immigration has contributed to the rise of Ukip.

"The denial of the issue has helped Ukip grow. It was thought that any talk about this was racist. Both parties have been responsible," he added.

"Finally the power of political correctness over politics, thank goodness, is breaking. It is Ukip that is breaking it."

Labour was left red faced after the Daily Telegraph obtained a private strategy document, instructing MPs to "move the conversation on" if voters express concerns over border controls and talk about healthcare or housing.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary, hit back at the leak and claimed the document had been taken "out of context".

Miliband has promised that employers exploiting migrant workers will face jail under a Labour government.

The Labour leader, in a major speech on immigration in Great Yarmouth, said his administration would make it a criminal offence to undercut pay or conditions by exploiting migrant workers.

"We are serving notice on employers who bring workers here under duress or on false terms and pay them significantly lower wages, with worse terms and conditions," Miliband said.

"This new criminal offence will provide protection to everyone. It will help ensure that, when immigrants work here, they do not face exploitation themselves and rogue employers are stopped from undercutting the terms and conditions of everyone else."

Miliband also reaffirmed his position that there need to be "fair rules" for immigrants who are entering the UK and seeking benefits.

"Fair rules mean that entitlement to benefits needs to be earned. That is why we have already published proposals to prevent people coming here claiming benefit for at least two years," the Labour leader said.

"Fair rules means people integrating into communities and learning English.

"But it isn't just the benefits system that needs to be fair. It is the workplace too. We know that so many workplaces are so far from being fair today. And that is especially true in many workplaces with a large number of employees who have come from overseas."

Miliband claimed he has heard of people having their wages stolen by rogue employers and having to live in "the most appalling conditions".

"These practices have an effect on local workers too. Because when people can be exploited for low wages or endangered at work, it drags the whole system down, undercutting the pay and conditions of people here," he added.