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Labour promise to close immigration detention centres

DETENTION: Diane Abbott visited Yarl's Wood earlier this year

LABOUR WILL close Yarl’s Wood and Brook House immigration detention centres, Diane Abbott has announced this morning.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Institute for Public Policy Research, Abbott said the Labour party will end Theresa May’s “hostile environment” approach to tackling immigration.

Abbott said Labour would shut down the Yarl’s Wood and Brook House immigration detention centres.

She said the £20 million spent on running the centres would be redirected into services to support the survivors of modern slavery, trafficking and domestic violence.

Abbott, who has been a vocal supporter of the Windrush generation, referred to the Windrush immigration crisis in her speech and Labour’s plans to restore the rights of those affected.

“The Windrush scandal goes to the very heart of Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policy – it was not accidental – it is a direct consequence of government policy,” she said.

“The next Labour Government will repeal all those parts of the immigration legislation that were introduced to support it. We will rescind all Home Office instructions to carry it out, and we will remove all obligations on landlords, employers and others to enact it,” she added.

The home secretary also announced that she would limit the detention of suspected illegal immigrants to 28 days. In 2016, around 81% of detainees were held for less than two months and 1% were held for more than a year, according to figures from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.

Labour’s plans also include preventing private companies from running detention centres.

Some of the nine detention centres in Britain are run by private companies, others are run by the prison service.

Yarl’s Wood has been at the centre of protests against the long-term detention of women.

A report produced after a 2017 inspection of the detention centre found that more and more women were being held there despite evidence that they were victims of torture, rape or trafficking.

Abbott visited the centre in February, more than a year after requesting access from the Home Office.

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