Diane Abbott claims Boris Johnson is ‘rumoured to like assaulting women’

·2 min read
Diane Abbott, the Labour MP and former shadow home secretary, made the comments about the Prime Minister live on a BBC radio show on Sunday - Anadolu Agency
Diane Abbott, the Labour MP and former shadow home secretary, made the comments about the Prime Minister live on a BBC radio show on Sunday - Anadolu Agency

Diane Abbott has claimed Boris Johnson is “rumoured to be one who likes assaulting women” live on a BBC radio programme.

The Labour MP and former shadow home secretary appeared on Sunday's episode of Broadcasting House, the BBC Radio 4 news review show, to discuss allegations surrounding Chris Pincher.

But she proceeded to make claims about Mr Johnson when she was asked if a man sexually assaulting a woman would have been treated differently from Mr Pincher allegedly groping two men.

“It might be treated differently,” Ms Abbott said. “But that’s because Boris Johnson has been rumoured to be the one who likes assaulting women. So it's sheer hypocrisy from him.”

Ms Abbott was supposed to be discussing allegations surrounding Chris Pincher (right), the Tory MP who was suspended from the party
Ms Abbott was supposed to be discussing allegations surrounding Chris Pincher (right), the Tory MP who was suspended from the party

Paddy O'Connell, who hosts the show, promptly stepped in to reprimand her and distance the Corporation from her claims.

“That's not been printed this morning, it's not being said by the BBC," he said. "Diane, you've got to answer my questions rather than raising new claims.

The BBC subsequently removed the programme from its BBC Sounds catch-up service on Sunday afternoon.

Comments later omitted by BBC

“For editorial reasons, we are editing today’s episode of Broadcasting House,” a spokesman said in a statement. “We are working to make it available to listeners as soon as possible.”

By Sunday night, the episode had been uploaded to include the majority of the interview of Ms Abbott but to omit her comments about the Prime Minister.

Elsewhere in her remarks on the show, Ms Abbott praised the increase in “transparency” when it came to reporting sexual harassment allegations.

She suggested the fact complaints had been made to the parliamentary authorities represented progress from a few decades ago, when she said male staffers would have been far less likely to contact the Whips’ Office.

Downing Street declined to comment. The Labour Party and Diane Abbott were contacted for comment.