Diane Abbott tells Labour supporters - 'don't abuse Laura Kuenssberg'
Diane Abbott has urged Labour supporters not to engage in online abuse of BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
The Shadow Home Secretarys plea comes after the BBC gave Ms Kuenssberg a dedicated security team for Labour's conference after she received repeated sexist abuse from people who believe she has been unfair in her coverage of Labour.
Ms Abbott told an event at Labour's conference that party supporters should put their energy into supporting Jeremy Corbyn, not attacking Ms Kuenssberg.
Asked whether people should desist from such behaviour, she said: “Oh definitely. Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. There is a positive case to make on Jeremy online, make that positive case. You don’t have to be abusing other people.
"People need to think, ‘you know what, I’m going to put out a positive tweet about Jeremy, I won’t put out something unpleasant about Laura Kuenssberg’.”
“Laura is doing a job, I may not always like how she does the job every time, but it is her job and why – just because she is a woman journalist – does she get that level of abuse. It’s wrong.”
Ms Abbott herself has been the subject of vitriolic abuse online, with recent research showing that half of abusive tweets sent in the run-up to the general election were aimed at the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP.
Her comments were echoed by former Labour frontbencher Clive Lewis, who worked as a BBC political reporter before entering Parliament.
Mr Lewis told delegates in Brighton“I think it’s a disgrace that any woman needs to have bodyguards at conference - absolute disgrace.”
The Norwich South MP added: “Play the ball not the player. Argue with what she has to say – don’t threaten her. We are not like that. That’s not how we roll on the left.
“Whatever you think of her journalism – threaten that, don’t threaten her.”