21 February 2018

Immigration speech by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott – response

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Responding to the speech on immigration by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott today,  Sunder Katwala, Director of  British Future, said:

“Since the EU referendum there’s been a surprising lack of debate from both Government and Opposition on immigration.

“With its White Paper on the back burner, it seems unlikely the Government will say anything until the end of the year. So it is good that the Labour opposition wants to begin to fill that vacuum, though Diane Abbott did not take on the really big question today of whether and how to replace free movement after Brexit.

“On other immigration questions, this was a welcome attempt to strike a balance between having immigration rules that are effective and fair while being compassionate on important issues like keeping refugee families together and ending the practice of detaining people indefinitely.

“The challenge for Labour is finding common ground between its supporters and the wider public. It would make no sense for Labour to enter a bidding war to see who has the toughest rhetoric on immigration, especially when public trust has been damaged by tough talk and broken promises from governments.”

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