‘You can’t blame New Labour’ Diane Abbott says Labour support plunged under Blair

Diane Abbott was questioned over Labour’s humiliating defeat in the December general election after some safe Labour seats turned Conservative for the first time in history. The Shadow Home Secretary has insisted Tony Blair is partly to blame as she claimed erosion of Labour support in the north started before Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Ms Abbott said: “Some of the causes of our loss particularly the erosion of our vote in the north actually pre-date the Jeremy Corbyn leadership.

“The erosion in our support in some of those communities was going on under new Labour.”

Ms Ridge interjected: “But at the same time the Labour support is what Tony Blair won in 1997.”

Ms Abbott continued: “He did win but the vote was eroding and it continued to do so.”

The Sky News host said: “You can’t blame New Labour, surely?”

The Hackney North MP said: “This was our fourth failure to win an election on the trot.

“You can’t blame it entirely on the Corbyn leadership.

In the show, she also addressed her claims former Speaker John Bercow couldn’t have intimidated Black Rod after she called David Leakey’s bullying claims “unlikely” on Twitter.

Ms Abbott has faced backlash after suggesting on Twitter that parliamentary official David Leakey couldn’t be bullied after being in the army.

She fiercely defended her tweet regarding David Leakey’s claim that he was bullied by Mr Bercow.

In a post on social media, which has since been deleted, Ms Abbott said regarding the bullying allegations: “Allegations come from the former parliamentary official David Leakey.

“He had been a Lieutenant General who served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Bosnia. But claims he was bullied i.e intimidated and coerced by John Bercow. Unlikely.”


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Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Ms Abbott said: “Anybody can be bullied. Anybody of any age or any profession can be bullied.

“I think intimidating Leakey is one thing but of course anyone can be bullied.”

Ms Ridge asked: “Anyone can be intimidated as well, can’t they?”

The MP for Hackney North continued: “Anybody can be intimidated but I think that given Leakey and the leadership roles he has played; I think it is unlikely he was intimidated by John Bercow.

“Annoyed and insulted by John Bercow but not intimidated.”

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