EXCL Diane Abbott says she would go on Question Time again despite Fiona Bruce row

Posted On: 
7th March 2019

Diane Abbott has insisted she would be willing to appear on Question Time again despite the race row which erupted after she was last a panellist on the show.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
Credit: 
PA Images

PoliticsHome revealed in January that the Shadow Home Secretary was considering boycotting the flagship politics programme for "legitimising mistreatment, bias and abuse".

Ms Abbott claimed she had been "interrupted more times than any other panellist" and accused host Fiona Bruce of mocking her during the warm-up before filming started.

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A spokeswoman for the Labour frontbencher also accused the BBC of "legitimising mistreatment, bias and abuse against Ms Abbott as a black woman in public life". The corporation has rejected the criticism.

In an interview with The House magazine, Ms Abbott said the row had forced the Conservatives to tone down their criticisms of her.

She said: "Most recently, I did Question Time. A lot of people felt that Fiona Bruce didn’t treat me fairly and then stories came out about what she said before the programme went on air.

"We got lots of phone calls in the office, apart from everything else. And Tories rang, ‘I’m a Tory, I’ve always voted Tory, but the way Diane was treated was really unfair’.

"The British people left to themselves have a very powerful sense of fairness. Partly why the Tories have walked back a little bit with their messaging about me is there was a certain amount of public pushback."

Asked if she would appear on Question Time again, she replied: "Yes, if the party wanted me to. I’ve done it more I think than anybody else currently in the party."

Elsewhere in the interview, Ms Abbott says porn and violent video games are partly to blame for the rise in knife crime because young people are becoming "desensitised to violence".

She said: "I’m not one for blaming the media or blaming music and drill videos or whatever, but culturally, there is a sense in which sometimes we are desensitised to violence.

"I just think some young people, the video games they play, the stuff they see online, it may desensitise them to violence. I wouldn’t say that’s the main cause of violent crime, I would say the main causes are really economic and to do with what’s happening in the education system.

"One of the things I looked at when I was doing public health was the whole issue of the sexualisation of the society.

"There is also an issue that boys as young as eight are viewing hardcore pornography online. You’ve got your smartphone, you can see stuff you could have never have seen at that age."