Labour MP says Diane Abbott should apologise for 'stupidly' missing Article 50 vote
A prominent Labour MP today blasted Diane Abbott for “stupidly” failing to back the triggering of Article 50 and called on the Shadow Home Secretary to apologise.
Leave campaigner Kate Hoey said Ms Abbott had “done herself a bit of a disservice” by going home sick just two hours before MPs were due to vote on beginning the two-year EU withdrawal process.
Ms Abbott has faced fierce criticism from Labour colleagues, with many questioning whether she missed the vote on purpose as her Hackney North constituency had been heavily pro-Remain.
A spokeswoman for the left-winger told PoliticsHome last week that she had suffered a migraine attack. Critics pointed out that MPs undergoing treatment for cancer did manage to make it through the voting lobbies.
Ms Hoey said she was “doubtful” Ms Abbott had been ill and called on the shadow frontbencher to make amends.
“I think Diane has done herself a bit of a disservice by having said clearly that she was a Remainer and that she would be voting for Article 50 - then not to turn up was a bit pointless becasue it didn’t achieve anything,” she told the BBC’s Daily Politics today.
“I haven’t spoken to Diane, maybe she was so ill she couldn’t come. I doubt it. But that’s why I think she has done herself a disservice.
“I think it’s up to her to get herself out of this because she should really just apologise to everyone for behaving rather stupidly.”
Her comments come after Labour MP John Mann called Ms Abbott a “coward” and former frontbencher Caroline Flint said she should quit.
But Labour former deputy leader Harriet Harman yesterday said Ms Abbott should be given the "benefit of the doubt" about her illness.
'PROUD' OF THERESA MAY
Elsewhere, Ms Hoey said Mrs May had “done a very, very good job” in taking over after losing the EU referendum and stitching back together the Tory splits over Brexit.
“I like her style. I think she’s come in and when I watch Prime Minister’s Questions now or when I see her particularly abroad at international events, I have to say I feel quite proud that she is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” she said.
She added: “We have to recognise sometimes that the country comes first and what she’s doing at the moment under very difficult circumstances are, I think, reasonable in terms of Brexit and in terms of the way she’s handled international events.”