Diane Abbott condemns online abuse of BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

Diane Abbott
Labour MP and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has called for an end to the online abuse faced by BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

Kuenssberg is currently covering the Labour party’s annual conference in Brighton, with reports suggesting she has hired a bodyguard due to threats on social media.

The threats are suggested to have stemmed from claims that Kuenssberg is biased against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Abbott, who herself faced more online abuse and threats than any other politician during the recent election, said:

“Don’t do it. Just don’t do it,” Abbott told The Guardian.

“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.”

Reports first surfaced that Kuenssberg 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.

Just because she is a woman journalist – does she get that level of abuse. It’s wrong.”

Abbott said that since the abuse, she has been ‘touched’ and encouraged by fellow Labour party members rallying to support her.

She temporarily stepped down as shadow home secretary in June, citing health concerns, and later revealed the extent of the abuse she received during the snap election.

A fundraising page set up to send Abbott a care package, which praised her courage against  “combined racism and sexism”, raised almost £6,000.

MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, 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.”

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