Diane Abbott was criticised for pulling out of an appearance on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour programme on Tuesday as a photo emerged of her standing at a Tube station nearby.
The shadow home secretary was suddenly “taken ill” this morning, according to Labour, minutes before her scheduled appearance on the Radio 4 show. The move came after the latest in a series of car crash interviews on Monday night.
But a picture posted on Twitter showed Abbott speaking on her phone in the ticket hall at Oxford Circus, just yards from the BBC studios in central London.
The person who tweeted the photograph said he captured the image at 8.40am, 20 minutes before the Woman’s Hour debate began.
A BBC source told Sun journalist Harry Cole that Abbott was “en route when she pulled out” and that her shadow cabinet colleague Emily Thornberry was forced to cycle to New Broadcasting House at the last-minute.
Labour has yet to respond to HuffPost UK’s requests for comment.
Seizing on the furore, the Conservatives suggested Abbott was no longer trusted to make media appearances.
“Jeremy Corbyn wants to make Diane Abbott Home Secretary in just two days but is hiding her away from voters,” Tory minister Priti Patel said.
“The woman who would be in charge of our police and the intelligence services cannot even be trusted by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to go on the airwaves to explain their shocking record on national security.
“Labour might be hiding her today but make no mistake – she will be in charge of our security and borders on Friday unless people vote for Theresa May and her Conservative team.”
Theresa May ‘hypocrisy’
But the Tories’ criticism came after Prime Minister Theresa May pulled out of a Woman’s Hour appearance last month.
It was a fact not lost on Labour supporters keen to point out the apparent hypocrisy.
Yet Monday evening’s Sky News appearance marked the latest in a series of disastrous interviews for Abbott in this election campaign.
Last month, Abbott floundered when challenged over the cost of a pledge to hire 10,000 more police officers.
“If we recruit the 10,000 policemen and woman over a four year period we believe it will be about £300,000,” Abbott said.
But Ferrari questioned the figure. “£300,000 for 10,000 police officers? What are you paying them?” he asked.
If the extra police were funded with £300,000 a year it would have left each new officer with a salary of just £30 a year.