Diane Abbott faced ten times the abuse of other MPs in election run-up

Posted On: 
5th September 2017

Diane Abbott received ten times as much abuse as any other MP in the run up to the June general election, it has been revealed.

Diane Abbott was forced to back away from the Labour frontline during the campaign due to health reasons
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Home Secretary suffered almost half of all the abusive tweets sent to female MPs (45%) in the six weeks before election day, research by Amnesty International showed.

She told the charity the relentless volume of abuse was “corrosive” and it was “sickening to see it in figures”.

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Ms Abbott said she received hundreds of racist letters every day - some of which contained swastikas and pictures of chimpanzees - from hostile members of the public.

She was forced to stand aside from her role in the final days of the campaign due to health reasons and following a string of poor performances in interviews.

Ms Abbott said: “It’s the volume of it which makes it so debilitating, so corrosive, and so upsetting. It’s the sheer volume. And the sheer level of hatred that people are showing.”

She added: “It’s highly racialised and it’s also gendered because people talk about rape and they talk about my physical appearance in a way they wouldn’t talk about a man.

“I’m abused as a female politician and I’m abused as a black politician.”

The researchers looked at a sample of 900,223 tweets between 1 January and 8 June – but the true scale of abuse could be higher as deleted tweets and suspended accounts could not be counted.

Other MPs named as facing vast amounts of abuse were Labour figures Emily Thornberry and Angela Rayner, Conservative Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the SNP’s Joanna Cherry.