Imagine if a white MP had said something like this:
"Black people love playing 'divide & rule'. We should not play their game"
There would quite rightly be outrage and calls for apologies for this sort of racist comment. If the MP had a front-bench or ministerial position there would doubtless be calls for resignation or sacking.
Well that didn't happen yesterday. This however did:
In the middle of a discussion on Twitter, Diane Abbott tweeted that. She made a broad generalisation about a group of people in society based on the colour of their skin. That is racism.
As Tory Radio has pointed out, in a further exchange later on, far from apologising she appears to be standing by her comments.
Diane Abbott has form for these sort of generalisations. A couple of years ago when discussing her children she said "I’m a West Indian mum and West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children.". The strong implication there was that mothers from other ethnic backgrounds would not, otherwise why single out the background as a distinguishing factor?
I don't think Abbott should have to resign from her position as a front-bench Labour spokesperson as long as she apologises for her comment yesterday. Also she needs to cut out the broad sweeping generalisations about people based on their skin colour or ethnicity in future.
If she chooses not to apologise however then I expect the Labour leadership will have to act. They surely cannot condone this sort of comment?
Diane Abbott has now tweeted the following "clarification":
And she has now deleted the original offending tweet. If she is standing behind it why would she do that?