Diane Abbott Should Stand Down At Next Election, Government's Anti-Semitism Adviser Says

Lord Mann said her remarks were "historically wrong, factually wrong, politically wrong”.
Diane Abbott has caused a media storm following her comments about racism at the weekend
Diane Abbott has caused a media storm following her comments about racism at the weekend
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Diane Abbott has been urged to stand down even as an independent MP by the government’s anti-semitism adviser.

Abbott – a former Labour frontbencher under Jeremy Corbyn – wrote to The Observer newspaper over the weekend claiming that Irish, Jewish and Traveller people experience “prejudice” rather than racism.

The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington said while “white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice” it’s not the same as racism.

She apologised “unreservedly” following widespread backlash, but the MP was suspended from the Labour Party, pending an investigation.

Former Labour MP, John Mann – now a peer and the government’s independent anti-semitism adviser – suggested on Monday that Abbott should not stand again as an MP in the next general election.

Mann told Sky News: “I think we are seeing a rather sad end to what has been a very prominent political career. Has she not thought about her own constituents in this? What they must be thinking about what she said?

“It’s awful, it’s very, very sad. I think the best thing she could do is say she’s going to stand down at the next election.”

Speaking to Sky News, Mann did add that Abbott, the first Black woman to ever be elected as an MP in the UK back in 1987, has faced “horrendous racism” herself, both within the Labour Party and from wider groups over the years.

But, he still condemned her recent remarks and said her apology “should have been clearer”, and was only “half an apology”.

His words come after Abbott said on Sunday morning: “I wish to wholly and unreservedly withdraw my remarks and disassociate myself from them.

“The errors arose in an initial draft being sent. But there is no excuse, and I wish to apologise for any anguish caused.”

Mann claimed said her words to The Observer were “beyond the pale”, adding: “I have no idea how she’s managed to dream this up.”

Mann continued: “Racism manifests in very different ways, and the Black community is at the forefront of any racism that is around.

“But there isn’t a hierarchy of racism – that ‘my racism is worse than your racism.’”

He also said that her comments were “historically wrong, factually wrong, politically wrong”.

Labour Against Antisemitism spokesperson Fiona Sharpe also told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that Abbott should “join Jeremy [Corbyn] and leave the party”.

Corbyn, former leader of the Labour, was suspended after his response to an investigation into anti-Semitism in the party.

She added: “I think sadly that Diane Abbott’s time has come. I think that she has really exposed herself for what her views really are.”

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Pat McFadden, told Sky News that the Labour Party had “no choice” but to suspend Abbott after her comments, although he refused to speculate on her future with the party.

“I’m sure that if she has made an apology, it is genuine,” he said. “But it will be for the chief whip and the leader to decide what happens next.”

He explained: “The way this works in the Labour party is you are picked by your local party, you have to be approved by the NEC [national executive committee].

“The chief whip has a big say in that, too. So there’ll be a process there. It’s not for me to decide who gets to be a candidate.”


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