As though to reinforce the sense of abject denial amongst Jeremy Corbyn’s allies over the Labour Party’s continuing descent into the grip of extreme-left antisemitic conspiracy theorists, Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, has claimed that saying that the Party has an antisemitism problem is tantamount to an attack on the Party.
Speaking towards the end of BBC Question Time, Abbott was asked whether Ken Livingstone should have been expelled from the Labour Party. Despite a growing backlash against the decision merely to stop Livingstone from standing for office for a year, Abbott refused to say that he should have been expelled.
When fellow panellist Gerard Coyne, a candidate to lead the Unite union said that Livingstone should have been expelled because “his comments are an affront to the six million Jews who lost their lives — and their families — in the Holocaust” and that Labour has an general problem with antisemitism, Abbott retorted: “When Gerard says that the Labour Party has an institutional problem with racism, or institutional antisemitism, because they’re one and the same, when you say that the Labour Party has a problem with institutional antisemitism and racism, I’m sorry you feel the need to attack your Party. I’m proud of the Labour Party’s record on fighting racism and antisemitism.”
Diane Abbott has previously told a television audience that allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party were a politically-motivated smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. Were the Labour Party to win a general election, Abbott would assume responsibility for tackling hate crime as Home Secretary.
It appears that Diane Abbott does not believe that Livingstone should have been expelled from the Party, and that she will accuse Labour members who challenge the Party’s appalling record on antisemitism of treachery. Only in the modern Labour Party could she comfortably retain her position as Shadow Home Secretary.