Diane Abbott’s immigration plan fails to add up

Diane Abbott's immigration plan fails to add up
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What would the government’s immigration policy look like if Diane Abbott was Home Secretary? Abbott’s speech on the fringe of the Labour conference made it clear what it won’t be, even if what it will be is less certain. It won’t involve immigration detention centres, which Abbott has vowed to shut down. The shadow home secretary expressed her disbelief after her former opposite number Amber Rudd told her that places like Yarl's Wood were necessary because some of those awaiting deportation were violent:

‘I said: ‘How can that be?’

'Even in the prison estate, the actual prison estate for actual prisoners, only a fraction of them have (been) convicted of violent offences. So how can you say this is why you are keeping people in immigration detention?'

It seems that Abbott's immigration policy won’t involve number targets either. Abbott repeated her earlier announcement that she'll ditch these if Corbyn is elected into Downing Street:

‘The other thing about our immigration policy is we are going to reject arbitrary numerical targets. I’ve said it: we are not going to have these numerical targets. The reason is that they don’t work.’

For a politician who has famously struggled in the past with numbers, Mr S suggests this might be a wise move on Abbott’s part. But whether or not ditching these targets adds up to an actual immigration policy, doesn’t seem quite so clear…

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to

Topics in this articlePoliticsuk politics