Diane abbott

Portrait of the Week: Sunak’s downpour, national service and the ‘triple lock plus’

Home Parliament was dissolved, leaving no MPs until the general election on 4 July. With hours to go, Diane Abbott had the Labour whip restored to her, and Lucy Allan MP was suspended from the Conservative party for endorsing the Reform UK candidate for Telford. Among bills that were lost was one prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 31 December 2008. Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, had provided an abiding memory by announcing the election standing in heavy rain in Downing Street and making a speech as though it weren’t raining. The Conservatives suddenly said that everyone should do a form of national service at the age of 18.


Is Diane Abbott against migration?

It’s a strange time in British politics. Brexit signalled the ongoing political re-alignment that is underway. Red Wallers and blue shires united; old alliances are at an end. Still, Mr S is surprised to see a surprising new addition to the legions of Tories in parliament who are concerned about the ongoing levels of high migration to the UK. Step forward Diane Abbott, who today found herself in the unusual position of being criticised from the left of British politics for being too hostile to the free movement of people. Abbott of course distinguished herself during the Corbyn years as Shadow Home Secretary when she refused to answer questions about

Is Diane Abbott in or out?

11 min listen

The drama in Westminster never seems to end. Last night the Times reported that the Labour party would not allow veteran MP Diane Abbott to represent the party at the upcoming general election. Abbott has reportedly been given the Labour whip back as a middle way, causing something of a backlash. Seeking to clarify the situation, Keir Starmer has today insisted that, ‘no decision has been taken to bar Diane Abbot’ and that ‘she is a member of the parliamentary Labour party.’ What’s going on? Will she be standing?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and John McTernan, former political secretary to Tony Blair.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

Will the Tories return Hester’s £10 million?

11 min listen

At Prime Minister’s Questions today Rishi Sunak refused to commit to returning the £10 million donor Frank Hester gave to the Conservative party. Hester allegedly said that Diane Abbott made him ‘hate all black women.’ Sunak now says that Hester’s  alleged comments were ‘racist’ and ‘wrong’, after a spokesperson initially only described them as ‘unacceptable’. Will the Tory position change again? Max Jeffery speaks to Katy Balls and the Financial Times’s Stephen Bush.

Diane Abbott’s baseless Boris blunder

Boris Johnson seems to be in enough bother without his opponents making unsubstantiated claims against him. But that’s exactly what Diane Abbott, the sexagenarian Stoke Newington MP, did yesterday when she appeared on yesterday’s episode of Broadcasting House, the BBC news review show. Abbott – who was ostensibly there to discuss allegations surrounding Chris Pincher – decided, er, to spout some of her own. The former shadow home secretary made claims instead about Boris Johnson when she was asked if a man sexually assaulting a woman would have been treated differently from Pincher allegedly groping two men. She replied that: ‘It might be treated differently. But that’s because Boris Johnson

Diane Abbott turns her guns on the Mail

Rayner-gate rumbles on into day three, with no sign yet that the press have bored of talking about themselves. The Deputy Labour leader was accused by an anonymous Tory MP in the Mail on Sunday of ‘flashing’ the Prime Minister at PMQs, prompting wall-to-wall criticism across every media outlet. Radio 4 led its 6 o’clock news programme with Speaker Hoyle’s latest soundings: Angela Rayner herself starred on Lorraine today to talk about her upset at the coverage.   But now the Mail on Sunday has had the ultimate accolade afforded to it. For Diane Abbott, the former Labour shadow home secretary, has now issued one of her infamous tweets about the author of the MoS piece, political

Jeremy Corbyn sides with Russia (again)

Jeremy Corbyn may no longer be Labour leader but he’s still parroting the Kremlin’s lines. It seems like just yesterday the former Leader of the Opposition was accused of siding with Moscow over the Skripal poisonings, having suggested that Novichok samples from the Salisbury attack should be handed over to Russia. Undeterred by the opprobrium he received in 2018, the Islington North MP is one of the usual suspects arguing that the current crisis in Ukraine is the result of – shock, horror! – those dastardly democracies in the West. For Corbyn is part of the gang of hard-left MPs who have signed up to a ludicrously one-sided ‘open letter’ by the ironically-named

I stand with Diane Abbott

Not for the first time in her political career, Diane Abbott is getting a lot of flak online. She’s being trolled, heckled and denounced as an enemy of the United Kingdom. Only this time Ms Abbott is being hauled over the coals not for saying something silly, but for saying something sensible. Something true. Something fundamentally correct. Namely, that Nato bears a great deal of responsibility for the current crisis in Ukraine. Browsing the Abbott-bashing headlines you could be forgiven for thinking she had upped sticks, flown to Moscow, and sworn lifelong allegiance to Vladimir Putin. ‘Diane Abbott backs Russia!’, says the Express. In its regular feature on mad things

Diane Abbott’s Zero Covid crusade

With Christmas over, the turkey consumed and Maughamtide been and gone, the eyes of an anxious nation have turned once more to No.10. Boris Johnson deferred the re-introduction of restrictions last week but met with Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance today to discuss the latest Covid data. Fortunately, current indications are that no such measures will be announced in England at the current time. But while most will celebrate the absence of yet more interminable mask-wearing, social distancing and indoor mixing bans, there are some who crave a Covid curb comeback. Among them include the zealots of the ‘Zero Covid Coalition’, whose activities are partly run out of the taxpayer-funded office of

Sunday shows round-up: This week is ‘moment of reckoning’ for EU trade deal

Dominic Raab – This week is ‘the moment of reckoning’ for EU deal The Sunday interview shows return this week to general fanfare across the nation… The first government guest to join Sophy Ridge was the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was asked about the prospect of the UK reaching a satisfactory trade deal with the EU by the end of the year. James Forsyth has written this week about how Downing Street puts the likelihood of a deal down to 30 to 40 per cent, but Raab professed a greater optimism that an agreement could be reached, citing the thorny subject of fisheries as one of the few remaining

Liz Truss shows solidarity with Diane Abbott

Liz Truss and Diane Abbott are an unlikely pair. One is a champion of free markets while the other is a true Corbynista. However, of late the Chief Treasury to the Secretary has managed to find common cause with the shadow home secretary. Speaking at a Freer think tank event last night with fellow freedom lovers James Cleverly and Steve Baker in the audience, Truss spoke of the importance of fighting over-interference of the state into people’s daily lives – and that includes Abbott’s recent decision to disobey London transport rules and drink an M&S mojito on the overground: ‘When we try to micromanage people’s lives, we take away the


‘The term coloured, is an outdated, offensive and revealing choice of words,’ tweeted Diane Abbott last week in response to Amber Rudd having remarked on the radio with regard to verbal abuse: ‘And it’s worst of all if you’re a coloured woman. I know that Diane Abbott gets a huge amount of abuse, and I think that’s something we need to continue to call out.’ Rudd rapidly apologised: ‘Mortified at my clumsy language and sorry to Diane Abbott.’ It is funny to think that if Rudd had said woman of colour she’d have been immune to criticism. But she tripped over a shibboleth. The Oxford English Dictionary abides by strict neutrality

In defence of Diane Abbott

The question I had hoped to pose this week was this: “Do people dislike Diane Abbott because she is black and a woman, or because she is useless?” But then I worried that we would come to a fairly definitive conclusion a long time before my allotted 1,000 words had been used up. “The latter, I think,” is the response I have heard time and time again, both from Labour supporters and Tories. For the entire day before Abbott’s appearance on Question Time, in which she thinks she was treated badly on account of the colour of her skin and her gender, my wife had been bouncing around the house

Watch: Diane Abbott dodges illegal immigrant questions

Amber Rudd’s resignation is something of a coup for Diane Abbott, who has spent the last week calling for the Home Secretary to go. But Abbott’s disastrous interview on Good Morning Britain might well have cut Labour’s celebrations at Rudd’s departure somewhat short. The shadow home secretary was asked repeatedly what Labour’s policy on illegal immigration is. And six times, she refused to say: Piers Morgan: ‘…I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask the shadow home secretary, in light of this massive scandal, what Labour’s policy on illegal immigrants is. Do you think that they should be removed from the country, or should they be allowed to stay here?’ Diane

Listen: Diane Abbott’s Brexit hypocrisy

This evening Owen Smith has been unceremoniously sacked by Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour front bench after he called for another EU referendum. However, given that the Labour frontbench aren’t exactly known for sharing a coherent Brexit position, some are questioning how fair the move is. After all, when it coms to calling for second referendums, Diane Abbott actually beat Smith to it. Back in November, the Labour frontbencher was reported, by the Guardian, to have written to two constituents pledging she would argue in favour of a referendum on the final Brexit deal – a policy that had been ruled out by the party: ‘I will argue for the right

Diane Abbott makes another numbers blunder

Diane Abbott is no stranger to getting her numbers in a muddle, and it seems the shadow home secretary has now done it again. Abbott warned this week that some were using immigration as a euphemism for race, but Mr S was surprised by one passage in her speech. The Guardian reports that Abbott told those in the audience at King’s College London: ‘I remember Enoch Powell’s speech, I think I was in primary school, and I wasn’t following it in huge detail, but I do remember how I felt.’ Given that Abbott was born in 1953, and Powell’s famous speech was delivered in 1968 – making her at least 14

Diane Abbott’s Brexit confusion – part II

Here we go again. For some time now Labour’s Brexit confusion can be described as ‘complicated’ at best. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that Labour shadow cabinet members often go on the airwaves and contradict each others – sometimes even themselves. This was evidenced last month took to the Andrew Marr show to claim that Labour had never supported a second referendum – despite writing to a constituent to say she would argue for the ‘right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed’. Now it seems Labour’s ever-changing Brexit position is getting too much even for Abbott. In an interview with Prospect, the shadow home secretary

Sunday shows round-up: Diane Abbott sounds public sector alarm

Diane Abbott – Public sector at risk if migration collapses The Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has told Andrew Marr that British businesses and essential services such as the NHS require a certain level of migration from Europe after Brexit and that a ‘collapse’ in numbers could pose a serious risk to the UK economy. Abbott claimed that a Labour government would clamp down on bureaucracy with regard to EU migration and that she would implement ‘fair rules’ and ‘reasonable management’: AM: Do you think that the number of people coming here from the EU will go down after Brexit if you’re in power? DA: You should talk to British

Corbyn cannot just condemn the abuse of those he is friends with

Jeremy Corbyn was generous to the Shadow Cabinet in his conference speech, especially to Diane Abbott, who had a terrible election campaign personally, suffering from problems with her diabetes and horrendous racist and misogynist abuse. The Labour leader led a standing ovation to the Shadow Home Secretary, followed by a rendition of ‘happy birthday’. He told the hall that ‘the campaign by the Tories and their loyal media was nasty and personal. It fuelled abuse online and no one was the target of that more than Diane Abbott.’ Let’s just recall the abuse of Diane Abbott during the election campaign. She said she had been called a ‘n***** bitch’, sent

Venezuela’s crisis exposes the true depravity of the hard-Left

Which British politician would be loopy enough to defend the Venezuelan regime as it guns down protesters and arrests opposition politicians? Need a clue? Didn’t think so. This week, Ken Livingstone – once an adviser to the late Hugo Chavez – said that the reason for the country’s woes was that Chavez ‘did not execute the establishment elite’ when he came to power. For good measure, he added: ‘America has got a long record of undermining any Left-wing government as well… it’s not all just down to the problems of the [Venezuelan] government.’ While reporting recently on the appalling collapse of that country, I found myself staring into the barrel of a gun