"In a candid interview with The Independent, Mr Johnson admitted that Labour's failure to debate immigration had "probably" boosted the BNP's appeal.
""People think we have shied away from a debate on it. They may well be right," he said. "My post bag is bigger on immigration than any other issue. It is a major public concern. The public deserves a rational debate on this, rather than what they sometimes get, which is at the extreme end of the scale."
"His call for a "real debate" about immigration marks a big shift in Labour's thinking. A week ago, Mr Johnson admitted that successive governments, including the present one, had been "maladroit" in handling the issue."