Diane Abbott Apologises After 'Racist' Tweet

05/01/2012 11:51 | Updated 06 January 2012
  • Dina Rickman Dina Rickman is an assistant editor at The Huffington Post UK

The Labour MP, who tweeted that white people love playing "divide and rule" on Wednesday night released a statement after she faced calls to clarify her comments from the deputy prime minister.

In a statement Abbott said: “I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that. I apologise for any offence caused."

A Labour spokeperson backed the MP, but said her comments were unacceptable. "We disagree with Diane’s tweet. It is wrong to make sweeping generalisations about any race, creed, or culture. The Labour Party has always campaigned against such behaviour – and so has Diane Abbott.”

A source close to Ed Miliband said Abbott had been told she had to apologise to him personally, and to "the Labour party and anybody who was offended."

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg had said Abbott should "apologise and explain herself", calling the comments "stupid and crass".

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi had called for Abbott to quit her front bench job as shadow public health minister, or for her to be sacked by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Abbott has been the MP for Hackney North for 25 years. In 2010, she ran for the Labour leadership. Ed Miliband appointed her to the frontbench in October 2010.

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