Diane Abbott tells Labour conference Jeremy Corbyn will not scapegoat immigrants


Jeremy Corbyn will not scapegoat immigrants and Labour will have a reasonable approach to managing migration, Diane Abbott has told the party's conference.

The shadow home secretary received a standing ovation as she came on stage in Brighton where she told delegates the Tories have "weaponised" immigration and have been "prepared to pander to anti-immigration sentiment".

Ms Abbott said Labour would end indefinite immigration detention and review the Prevent anti-extremist strategy.

She said: "There are real labour market issues in relation to immigration - but the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn will never scapegoat immigrants for these issues.

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"Labour in government will work across departments to counter the effects of deregulation, liberalisation and the weakening of trade-union rights and freedoms."

Ms Abbott said there was increasing concern that Prevent is a tainted brand that is not fit for purpose.

She said: "Trampling on our civil liberties will do the terrorists' work for them.

"Because what makes us free is what makes us safe - and what makes us safe is what will make us free."

Ms Abbott also stressed the nation cannot be kept secure "on the cheap" as she pledged to reverse funding cuts and recruit 10,000 new officers.

Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn
Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn

The Government is boosting its total spending on counter-terrorism by 30%, from £11.7 billion to £15.1 billion.

However, Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs' Council, has argued the amount allocated from that budget to policing, which currently totals around £700 million a year, is set to be cut by 7.2% in the next three years.

Ms Abbott said: "The truth is that austerity undermines policing and community safety in just the same way that it undermines our health service.

"We see the consequence of this around us, with rising levels of homicide, knife and gun crime - and the police themselves are suffering from spiralling levels of overwork and stress.

"Labour in government will work to make communities safe. We will recruit 10,000 new police officers working in the community."

Thank you everyone for the wonderful reception at #Lab17pic.twitter.com/M6suYubhUx

-- Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) September 24, 2017

On Grenfell Tower, Ms Abbott said the blaze symbolised the Conservatives' failure and that the failure "goes further than the borough council".

"Events at Grenfell are also a direct consequence of deregulation of fire standards and inspection, privatisation and outsourcing.

"We demand justice for the Grenfell survivors - they will not be forgotten.

"We demand an immigration amnesty for former Grenfell residents so they all feel able to come forward for help."

She added: "Labour in government will recruit 3,000 additional firefighters and we fully support the campaigning of the Fire Brigades Union, against the cuts."

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