George Osborne has been criticised for promoting a cartoon depicting Labour candidate Diane Abbott refusing to attend an anti-terror meeting as Home Secretary because she’s “far too ill”.
The ex-Tory MP and Chancellor, and now editor of the London Evening Standard, tweeted the newspaper’s sketch lampooning Abbott, who stepped down from campaigning on Wednesday after a “serious, long-term condition diagnosis”.
Abbott’s condition was confirmed as “serious” an hour before Osborne tweeted the image.
Reaction was swift, with many people asking for the image to be removed.
Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner told HuffPost UK earlier: “I have been told that Diane has been diagnosed with a serious, long-term condition.
“I hope people will simply say ‘OK, fair dos, if that’s the reason she’s been under par, we should back off’.”
Gardiner said that he hoped there would be be less “cynicism” about Abbott, but added: “But I’m afraid politics is an unkind business.”
Abbott tweeted on Wednesday: “Touched by all the messages of support. Still standing! Will rejoin the fray soon. Vote Labour!”
Theresa May said: “How Jeremy Corbyn manages his Shadow Cabinet is for him. I wish Diane Abbott a speedy recovery.”
The close ally of Corbyn has stepped aside from her job in the shadow cabinet less than 24-hours until polls open in the general election.
When Abbott pulled out of a Woman’s Hour interview, Conservative cabinet minister Priti Patel accused Labour of trying to keep Abbott off TV and radio due to poor performances. “Jeremy Corbyn wants to make Diane Abbott Home Secretary in just two days but is hiding her away from voters,” she said.
HuffPost has approached the Evening Standard for comment.