Labour will change immigration rules to tackle family break-ups, says Abbott

A Labour government will act to overhaul immigration rules to end the agony of family break-ups, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has said.

In a speech in London, Ms Abbott said that under Labour the parents or carers of child refugees living in the UK would be given the right to join them.

Labour would also end the policy of deporting children without the entitlement to be in the UK when they reach the age of 18, even if their parents have the right to stay.

"This commitment underlines our commitment to human rights. This is the application of Labour values and it is the right thing to do," she said.

The Conservatives said the changes would create a new incentive for unaccompanied minors to attempt the dangerous journey to Europe, putting their lives at risk.

"Labour's policy would risk breaking up families, creating a dangerous incentive for children to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean and on to the UK on their own," a spokesman said.

"Our immigration policy will always support those in genuine need and those who need the most."

However Ms Abbott said most migrants were driven by the need to escape the desperate conditions they were living in rather than so-called "pull" factors.

"The 'push' factors on migrants far outweigh any other issue," she said.

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