Diane Abbott condemned by her own wing of the Labor party as she is embroiled in row against anti-Semitism after claiming Jews are not subjected to racism.
The leftist deputy was suspended from the party and apologized almost immediately for a letter he wrote, published In The observer.
It stated that the Jewish, Irish and traveler communities have experienced “bias” but added: “This is akin to racism and the two words are often used as if they were interchangeable.”
Despite her apology, Mrs Abbott did not have the support of fellow leftists. Jon Lansman, founder of the campaign group Momentum which has backed former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, condemned her remarks as “shameful”.
She wrote on Twitter: “Shameful comment by Diane Abbott for which she was rightly suspended by the Labor Party. Racism is not a competition!”
Labor against anti-Semitism said the comments were “simply unacceptable”. Spokeswoman Fiona Sharpe said: “To reduce the racism faced by Jews to mere prejudice when within living memory six million Jews have been systematically slaughtered in Europe for their race is gravely offensive.”
And, piling pressure on Sir Keir Starmer to prevent her from standing in the next election, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said her suspension “must be the first step towards her expulsion from the party”.
Sir Keir, the Labor leader and Mrs Abbott’s local party will decide whether she runs for the party in the next election, shadow minister Pat McFadden said.
Mr McFadden, Chief Shadow Secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News: ‘I’m sure if she apologized, she meant it. But she will be up to the group leader and the leader to decide what happens next.
He added: ‘The way it works in the Labor Party is you are chosen by your local party, you have to be approved by the NEC [national executive committee]. The head of the whip also has a big say. So there will be a process there.
Lord Mann, an independent adviser to the government on anti-Semitism, said Ms Abbott’s comments were among the “most startling” he had seen and suggested she would withdraw at the next election. He added that Ms Abbott’s apology was “only a half apology”.
He told Sky News: ‘I would anticipate that he will now retire at the next election. You have suffered from racism and you have denied the suffering of other groups – the traveler community, the Jewish community – in terms of what they have suffered and continue to suffer and the discrimination against them.”
Lord Mann said Mrs Abbott was “historically wrong, factually wrong and politically wrong”.
Labor MPs said so The independent the investigation should be done “quickly” – saying the facts and the apology were clear enough not to “delay” any punishment.
Despite the grounds for her permanent expulsion, Labor MPs in favor of Mrs Abbott’s return fear she could be suspended indefinitely in a bid to undermine her selection as a candidate in the next general election.
Former Labor MP Claudia Webbe, who was expelled from the party after being convicted of molesting a love rival and sits as an independent, expressed her ‘sympathy’ for Mrs Abbott.
He wrote on Twitter: “I want to put my sympathy with Diane Abbott on record. She withdrew and withdrew. Now the pile against her must end. We must fight all forms of racism, always”.
A close ally of Corbyn, Abbott said it was “extraordinary” that Sir Keir formally barred him from standing as a Labor candidate in the forthcoming election.
Mr Corbyn was suspended over his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on anti-Semitism in the party, claiming the issue had been “overblown” by his political opponents.
The former leader called the decision a “shameful attack on party democracy”. He also said Sir Keir’s claims that the two were never friends are “primary school stuff” and lashed out at the announcements of anti-Rishi Sunak attacks as “bad news everywhere”.
Mrs Abbott was the first black woman elected to Parliament and is currently the longest serving black MP. She was there subjected to racial abuse since becoming MP in 1987, both in Westminster and on social media and in letters and emails.
She was the target of nearly half of all offensive tweets sent to female MPs in the run-up to the 2017 general election, and received 10 times more abuse than any other female MP, according to a study by Amnesty International.