WATCH: Diane Abbott slams Tories over Yarl’s Wood letter

6th March, 2018 3:27 pm

Today Diane Abbott asked an urgent question in parliament on behalf of women facing indefinite detention in Yarl’s Wood.

As previously reported on LabourList, the shadow home secretary – along with shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti – recently visited Yarl’s Wood detention centre, where 120 women had just begun a hunger strike.

The detainees are calling for an end to indefinite detention and to victims of sexual violence being held. They describe the conditions as “inhumane”.

Abbott said: “In response to my repeated enquiries, the authorities at the detention centre – the Home Office, Serco and G4S – said categorically that there was no hunger strike.

“It now seems that we were misled.”

She referred to a signed letter on Home Office headed paper that stated detainees “currently refusing food and/or fluid” may have their case “accelerated” and “removal from the UK taking place sooner”.

Abbot pointed out that this would fall outside of due process, and said: “This sounds like punitive deportations for women who have dared to go on hunger strike.”

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