Diane Abbott: EU migrants will be free to bring future partners to the UK under Labour

Posted On: 
21st February 2018

Diane Abbott today said EU nationals who come to the UK during the Brexit transition period will have the right to bring future partners to the country under a Labour government.

Diane Abbott gave the first in a series of "lectures" about immigration
PA Images

The Shadow Home Secretary said there must be no “two tier” system for EU migrants after March 2019.

Theresa May has said there will be a “difference” between the rights of those coming to the UK before Brexit and those who come during the transition - but has so far failed to spell out what that will mean in practice.

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At the moment, the rights enjoyed by EU citizens in the UK are automatically extended to their future partners if they come to this country.

Laying out a Labour vision for post-Brexit immigration today, Ms Abbott said migrant rights should remain the same at least until the future relationship with the EU is in place.

“Our position is that EU nationals living here and EU nationals that come in during the transition period should have the same rights as EU nationals currently have,” she said at Kings College in London.

“We don’t want two-tiers of EU nationals.”

On the right of EU nationals to bring future partners from abroad into the country permanently, she said: “We want the rights of EU nationals to be the same as the rights they currently have - including in terms of their future relationships and so on, to be able to be enjoyed by their families.”

Elsewhere in her speech this morning - which she dubbed the first in a series of “lectures” about Labour values over immigration - Ms Abbott said the party would end the break-up of migrant families.

She said a “fair and reasonable” approach would mean the carers or parents of admitted child refugees would have the right to move to the UK.

And she called for an end to the practice of deporting children without entitlement to be in the UK once they turn 18, even when their parents are able to remain.


Ms Abbott again risked the ire of Brexit supporters by linking the debate about EU membership to racism.

“In some political quarters immigration is a euphemism for race,” she lamented.

“And you can't have a serious debate about immigration unless you are willing to face up to that.”