Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Diane Abbott calls on supporters to end abuse of BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

Diane-Abbott-Laura-Kuenssberg.jpg

The Labour MP and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has condemned the online abuse faced by the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

Kuenssberg is currently covering the Labour party’s annual conference in Brighton, and media reports suggest she has been accompanied by a bodyguard after receiving threats on social media. The high-profile journalist is a divisive figure for many on the left, who believe she is biased against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

However, Abbott – one of Corbyn’s oldest friends and closest allies – has urged Kuenssberg’s detractors not to resort to online bullying and threats. Abbott faced horrific racist and sexist cyber-abuse in the run-up to the general election in June, and has previously spoken out about the impact of online harassment.

“Don’t do it. Just don’t do it,” Abbott told The Guardian, when asked what she would say to Labour supporters regarding online abuse.


Read more: “Whatever our politics, we should all be angry that Laura Kuenssberg needs a bodyguard”


“There is a positive case to make on Jeremy online, make that positive case,” she continued. “You don’t have to be abusing other people.”

laura Kuenssberg bodyguard labour

Laura Kuenssberg has been accompanied by a bodyguard at the Labour party conference.

The Labour party conference was not the first time that Kuenssberg had required personal security: reports first surfaced that the journalist was being accompanied by a bodyguard during the general election.

However, Abbott said that she was saddened that a woman should need protection when she was just “doing her job”.

“It is wrong,” she said. “Laura is doing a job. I may not always like how she does the job every time, but it is her job.”


Read more: “The real reason we should all be upset about Uber”


 “Why – just because she is a woman journalist – does she get that level of abuse?” Abbott continued. “It’s wrong.”

Abbott said that she had been touched by the support she received from Labour party members after receiving a barrage of online harassment during the general election campaign.

She temporarily stepped down as shadow home secretary in June, just one day before the election, citing health concerns, and later revealed the extent of the abuse she had faced.

A fundraising page set up to send Abbott a care package, which praised the Hackney MP’s courage in the face of “combined racism and sexism”, raised almost £6,000.

diane abbott laura Kuenssberg jeremy corbyn

Diane Abbott on stage with Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour party conference in Brighton.

Abbott was not the only Labour politician to speak out against the treatment of Kuenssberg. Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, said that she was “sad” that Kuenssberg required security.

“In 2016 women cannot feel safe at work,” Phillips tweeted. “If we ignore abuse when it comes from our allies we are hypocrites.”

In a later tweet, Phillips accused people who claimed Kuenssberg had lied about needing a bodyguard of victim-blaming.

MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy supported Phillips’ tweet.

“No ifs, no buts, no one should ever be threatened because you disagree what they say in a democratic movement,” she said.

Images: Rex Features

Related

tulip siddiq (2).jpg

Report reveals "human rights abuses" against women MPs online

diane abbott abuse.jpg

Diane Abbott describes vile racist and sexist abuse she receives daily

diane abbott.jpg

Diane Abbott silences critics with biggest ever majority vote

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Madonna’s touching tribute to a Cruel Intentions reunion

by Nicola Colyer
18 Oct 2017

Cher is starring in the Mamma Mia! sequel and we can’t wait for 2018

Can you hear the drums, Fernando?

by Susan Devaney
18 Oct 2017

Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey shares shocking sexual harassment story

“I got in my car and cried”

by Susan Devaney
18 Oct 2017

Jennifer Lawrence was forced into a naked line-up by a producer

In the name of weight-loss “inspiration”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Abigail Breslin’s photo reveals how domestic abuse can stay with you

The actor has opened up about the realities of living with PTSD

17 Oct 2017

“Why Liar is proof that TV's depiction of rape is damaging to women”

The proliferation of rape in TV and film is a real problem for the representation of women

by Harriet Hall
17 Oct 2017

Nigella Lawson reveals why red is the ultimate foodie colour

As she tracks her gastronomic love affair with all things crimson

by Stylist
17 Oct 2017

Reese Witherspoon says she was sexually assaulted at 16 by a director

“Producers made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Courtney Love tried to warn us about Harvey Weinstein in 2005

This video shows her speaking out against Weinstein over a decade ago

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hillary Clinton praises NHS after receiving medical treatment in UK

Clinton spoke about the UK’s health service during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017