POLITICS
02/10/2018 15:31 BST

How Sajid Javid Got A Room Full Of Tories To Applaud Diane Abbott

The Home Secretary praised the Labour MP, who was the first black woman elected to the House of Commons.

There are a lot of things you expect to see at Tory Party Conference – 18-year-olds in suits, Boris Johnson being chased by journalists during his morning run, and hoardes of people waiting to receive the wisdom of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

But a room full of Conservatives applauding the veteran Labour MP Diane Abbott is not one of them.

And yet that was the unlikely feat that Home Secretary Sajid Javid managed to pull off during his big conference speech to delegates on Tuesday afternoon.

Progress in politics requires role models and pioneers, Javid told the audience – “including people we wouldn’t normally praise in our party conference”.

“People like Diane Abbott,” he told the quiet conference hall. “Yes, Diane Abbott.”

“We might disagree with the shadow Home Secretary on almost all her policies,” Javid continued. “But it takes guts and determination to become the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons. And we should pay tribute to that,” he added as the room broke into applause.

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The Cabinet minister was far less complementary about Abbott’s boss though, using his speech to call Jeremy Corbyn “a threat to our national security”.

“This isn’t a political point,” Javid said, “because a number of Labour MPs know this is right.

“If Mr Corbyn were ever to be prime minister this behaviour wouldn’t just be naïve, it wouldn’t just be misguided. It would be downright dangerous. And it is our duty to stop him.”