21/02/2018 18:01 GMT

Diane Abbott Accidentally Doubles Number Of Border Guards Promised By Labour

Party policy is for 500 more recruits.

PA Wire/PA Images

Diane Abbott has inadvertently doubled the number of border guards promised by Labour if it gets into power.

The shadow home secretary used a speech at King’s College, London to talk about her party’s position on immigration and asylum, promising “a thousand more border guards than the Tories”.

But Labour’s 2017 manifesto set out plans for just 500 new recruits - half the number promised in a pre-election campaign pledge - which it is understood is still party policy.

The Hackney MP referred to the document herself while claiming a Corbyn-led government would end the breaking up of families through the immigration system and help reunite refugees with their relatives. 

“The last Labour manifesto was very clear about the underlying principles of Labour immigration policy,” she said.

PA Wire/PA Images
Labour policy is to recruit 500 more border guards

“I’d like to remind you, if I can, of what the manifesto said. The opening paragraph of the immigration section states ‘Labour offers fair rules and reasonable management of migration’.

“In trade negotiations our priorities favour growth, jobs and prosperity. We make no apologies for putting these aims before bogus immigration targets.”

Abbott said her party had never had an ‘open door policy’ on immigration.

“We have restricted immigration,” she added. 

“And not always in the most humane way. Or the most sensible way.

“We actually have a pledge now for 1,000 more border guards than the Tories. We don’t want illegal immigration, or people trafficking. We are pledged to clamp down on them all.”

The government has promised 300 extra guards to help deal with post-Brexit pressures - but union chiefs say as many as 3,000 will be needed.

HuffPost UK contacted the Labour Party for comment.