Labour's shadow home secretary temporarily stepping aside ahead of UK election

Diane Abbott cancelled a series of appearances yesterday, citing ill health

Labour's shadow home secretary temporarily stepping aside ahead of UK election

Diane Abbott. Picture by: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The British Labour party's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has been temporarily replaced due to ill health, the party has announced.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the move on Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours before polls open for the general election.

Ms Abbott will be replaced by shadow police minister Lyn Brown.

On Tuesday, ill health caused Ms Abbott to pull out of a radio appearance, with shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry appearing instead.

Ms Abbott later pulled out a hustings organised by the Evening Standard newspaper.

The newspaper's editor, former British chancellor George Osborne, tweeted:

Ms Abbott had earlier this week faced criticism over a Sky News interview in which she struggled to answer questions about a counter-terrorism report.

Despite insisting she had read the review, Ms Abbott faltered on questions about merging police forces and putting up security barriers.

A spokesperson for Ms Abbott said: "Ms Abbott will not be talking about her health at this time. There can be no more distractions from the real issues of this General Election.

"Ms Abbott will be joining Labour party colleagues to get the vote out on Thursday."

British politicians are engaging in their final day of campaigning before the election today, amid tightening polls and the continuing impact of the recent London and Manchester attacks.

Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday said she will rip up Britain’s human rights laws if they get in the way of tackling terrorism.

Mr Corbyn, meanwhile, has criticised the British leader for cuts to policing under recent Conservative governments:

Mrs May called the snap election in April, as polls showed her Conservative party enjoying a healthy lead over Labour.

While most opinion polls show the Conservatives likely to maintain or increase their parliamentary majority, others have shown Labour within one or two points of the Tories.