Labour have confirmed that Diane Abbott has been suspended from the party pending an investigation, after she contentiously claimed that certain groups could only ever be considered victims of ‘prejudice’, and not racism.
Diane Abbott risked her entire future in politics, after she sent a controversial letter to The Observer. The senior Labour MP has since apologised for her submission, but it hasn’t been enough to prevent her from losing the whip.
What did Diane Abbott say about Jewish people and racism?
The post, titled ‘Racism is Black and White’, claims that Jewish people, Travellers, and the Irish have only ever suffered from ‘prejudice’. She insists that racism comes down to skin colour only, and flippantly compares the groups’ struggles to those of redheads.
You can see a screenshot of the letter here:
Diane Abbott distances herself from her own remarks
Responding to an enormous public outcry on Sunday, Diane Abbott has since backtracked from the letter. She says that there were ‘errors’ in a first draft she sent to The Observer, which were then subsequently published. The politician also apologised for ‘any distress caused’.
“I wish to withdraw my remarks and disassociate myself from them. The errors arose in an initial draft that was sent. Racism takes many forms, and it is undeniable these groups have suffered their affects. I would like to publicly apologise for these remarks.” | Diane Abbott
Labour leader told to ‘take action quickly’
Issuing their own statement on Sunday, Labour Against Anti-Semitism denounced the ‘grossly offensive’ comments made by Hackney’s long-serving MP. Fiona Sharpe, a spokesperson for the group, asked Keir Starmer to react swiftly to the matter.
“To reduce the racism faced by Jews to mere prejudice when six million of them were slaughtered in Europe for their race is grossly offensive… Ms. Abbott is either woefully misinformed or deliberately bigoted. We call upon Keir Starmer to remove the whip.” | Fiona Sharpe
The pleas from LAAS and other branches were heeded. Labour have since condemned the comments, branding them ‘deeply offensive and wrong’. Abbott will now sit as an independent MP until the probe into her conduct is complete.