Diane Abbott speaks out about horrifying racist abuse she suffers every day

Shadow Home Secretary revealed the scale of the 'mindless abuse' she received in a Westminster Hall debate

Harriet Line
Wednesday 12 July 2017 21:17 BST
Diane Abbott on online abuse: I am called a n***** 'over and over again'

Diane Abbott has spoken of how she has been repeatedly labelled a "n*****" in a stream of racist and sexist abuse.

The Shadow Home Secretary revealed the extent of the "mindless abuse" she has received as an MP through emails and social media, and said the online attacks had got worse in recent years.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on the intimidation and abuse of candidates in elections, Ms Abbott said she had received rape and death threats, and had been described as an "ugly fat black bitch" and a "n*****".

Ms Abbott told the debate: "We are talking about mindless abuse and in my case the mindless abuse has been characteristically racist and sexist.

"And just to outline I've had death threats, I've had people tweeting that I should be hung if 'they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch's weight'.

"There was an EDL affiliated Twitter account #BurnDianeAbbott, I've had rape threats, described as a pathetic, useless fat black, piece of shit, ugly fat black bitch and n*****.

"N***** over and over again."

Ms Abbott said one of her members of staff said the "most surprising thing" about working for her was how often she "has to read the word n*****" in emails, on Twitter and Facebook.

It comes as investigation into the abuse of parliamentary candidates has been launched after a wave of intimidation during the general election campaign.

Labour and the Conservatives have both accused the other of failing to act to stamp out abuse by their members and activists after reports of racism, anti-Semitism and sexism.

Theresa May asked the Committee on Standards in Public Life to conduct a review into the problem as MPs gathered in Westminster Hall to discuss the apparent rise in personal attacks.

The probe will assess the current protections in place and report back to the Prime Minister with recommendations on ways to tackle abuse in the future.

Ms May said: "I have been horrified by stories from colleagues about the scale and nature of the intimidation, bullying and harassment they suffered during the general election campaign.

"Robust debate is a vital part of our democracy, but there can be no place for the shocking threats and abuse we have seen in recent months.

"We must all work together to banish this behaviour, and I would urge MPs and candidates from all parties to report their experiences to this review so we get the fullest possible picture - and can take the action required to stamp it out."

It comes after a cross-party group said political parties must do more to prepare candidates for the ruthless nature of campaigning.

The informal all-party parliamentary inquiry into electoral conduct found racism and bigotry have been "on the rise" at times since the 2015 general election.

It highlighted a number of cases of abuse during the latest campaign, including reports by Tory former minister Andrew Percy, a convert to Judaism, that he had been called "Zionist scum".

Tory Sheryll Murray has told how she was left "sickened" when her posters were daubed with swastikas, while Ameet Jogia, an Indian-origin Conservative Party candidate who stood against Labour's Barry Gardiner in Brent North, reported finding a voting booth vandalised with graffiti, stating: "Vote Labour Barry, not Jogia. Keep p**** out of politics."

Press Association

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