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  1. ITV Report

Diane Abbott: Tory immigration targets 'bogus'

Diane Abbott claimed the Tories have been 'disgraceful' on the issue of immigration. Credit: *

Diane Abbott has accused the Conservatives of pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment and setting "bogus" migrant targets.

The shadow home secretary claimed the Tories have been "disgraceful" on the issue of immigration in a speech at the Labour party's conference in Brighton on Sunday.

The Labour leadership faces a potential challenge over immigration, with senior pro-European Union figures backing a motion calling for the party to commit to maintaining free movement of people from the continent after Brexit.

Ms Abbott insisted the party's approach to immigration will be fair and "reasonable" and not "scapegoat" immigrants.

Labour's approach to immigration will be 'reasonable', the shadow home secretary said. Credit: PA

Ms Abbott said: "Tory opportunism on immigration is a disgrace. They continue to talk about bogus immigration targets, which they have not met and will never meet.

"They have pandered to anti-immigrant sentiment whatever the cost to the economy and communities.

"There are real labour market issues. But the Labour party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn will not scapegoat immigrants for these issues.

"The watchword for our approach to immigration in government will be fairness and the reasonable management of migration."

Ms Abbott also spoke about the importance of keeping Britain safe from the "menace of terrorism" referencing the five terror incidents this year.

She also paid tribute to emergency services who responded in the face of danger and "rose to the challenge of keeping us safe".

The recent Parsons Green tube attack was the fifth terror incident this year. Credit: PA

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP went on to take the opportunity to call for increased pay for public sector workers.

"The Tories have no respect for public sector workers as their unfair public sector pay cap shows. But in its moments of greatest peril the nation turns to its public sector workers.

"They should not be played off against each other and they should all be paid properly.

"Because you cannot keep the nation secure on the cheap," she added.

Ms Abbott also used her speech to restate Labour's commitment to reversing cuts in police budgets.

She also pledged to reverse police funding cuts and recruit 10,000 new officers.

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

The MP also addressed the Grenfell Tower disaster, asking why commissioners had not been sent in by the Government to take over the running of the "failing" Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council.

Up to 80 people are believed to have died in the Grenfell Tower fire in June. Credit: PA

Ms Abbott insisted the victims and survivors of the Grenfell fire will "not be forgotten".

She also pledged that a Labour government would recruit 3,000 additional firefighters.

The shadow home secretary also said the fire brigade must be the lead agency for "assessing risk, fire inspections and proper sign-off for all major works and refurbishment".

"No more outsourcing to the private sector," she added.