Amber Rudd has said she is “mortified” after describing Diane Abbott as “coloured” during an interview about online abuse.
Discussing the trolling that politicians now face on social media, the work and pensions secretary said: “It definitely is worse if you’re a woman 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.”
Her comments came during an interview with Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday afternoon.
Abbott quickly responded on Twitter, describing the term “coloured” as an “outdated, offensive and revealing choice of words”.
The shadow home secretary, the first black woman to be elected as an MP, has previously spoken about the huge amount of racist abuse she receives.
Rudd later apologised to Abbott, tweeting that she was “mortified at my clumsy language”.
“My point stands: that no one should suffer abuse because of their race or gender.”
But Rudd faced serious criticism for her comments, with Labour MP Naz Shah arguing she “should know better” than to use the term.
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour’s Danielle Rowley said the former home secretary “clearly gets her language from the same bygone era as her abhorrent welfare policies”.