A former immigration minister has defended his use of robust language in a Labour election leaflet saying it is party policy, despite being condemned as "abhorrent" by a close colleague.
Liam Byrne, who is defending his Hodge Hill seat for Labour, also accused a Tory opponent of selectively quoting his campaign leaflet to hoodwink Labour council leader Sir Albert Bore into an attack.
The row arose as backbench Conservative Peter Douglas Osborn quoted the leaflet during the April council meeting.
Lines such as "stronger border controls, new exit checks to count people in and out of the country, ban visa overstayers and bring back fingerprint checks for illegal migrants in Calais" were read out.
He said the leaflet spoke of making immigrants "earn their right" to live here.
Coun Douglas Osborn (Con Weoley) then asked council leader Sir Albert Bore to join him in "deprecating" the comments which he said were inflammatory in a diverse city such as Birmingham.
The wily backbencher had also masked the Labour leaflet behind a UKIP one to lull the council leader. Sir Albert fell for the ambush and agreed that such language was "abhorrent" and should be condemned.
The reveal it was a Labour leaflet, being pushed through doors in Shard End, was greeted with howls of laughter from Tories and tuts from the Labour benches.
As well as being Labour politicians, Sir Albert has worked closely with Mr Byrne, including being as running mate in an aborted elected mayor bid in 2012.
Looking to save the council leader's blushes, Mr Byrne attacked the Tory councillor for making light of a serious issue and pointed out the statements were Labour immigration policy, one he helped draw up.
Mr Byrne, who was immigration minster between 2006 and 2008, said: "We need smart talk and sensible action on immigration reform. All politicians have a responsibility to treat this carefully and comprehensively.
"So, quite frankly, the debate deserves rather better than selectively quoting leaflets for party political point scoring. We need a new national consensus on immigration.
"That's the position Labour's manifesto sets out and that's what in our leaflets. Nothing more. Nothing less."
• Candidates for Hodge Hill: Phil Bennion (Lib Dem), Liam Byrne (Lab), Andy Chaffer (Communist), Albert Duffen (UKIP), Kieran Mullan (Cons), Chris Nash (Green)