Female MP abuse 'puts women off politics' says Diane Abbott

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Female MP abuse 'puts women off politics' says Diane Abbott

Women may be deterred from entering politics because of abuse suffered by female MPs, Diane Abbott says.

The shadow home secretary said she was speaking out about her own experiences after recently receiving a series of threats and insults.

In the first week February, Brexit secretary David Davis was branded "sexist" for reportedly sending a text saying he would not hug Ms Abbott because he was "not blind".

His spokeswoman said he was "very sorry" for any offence caused.

Writing in the Guardian Ms Abbott described how that week was a "perfect storm" of abusive events which had prompted her to write about the issue.

"I receive racist and sexist abuse online on a daily basis. I have had rape threats, death threats, and am referred to routinely as a bitch and/or nigger, and am sent horrible images on Twitter," she wrote.

She said she had never written about it during her 30 years in politics but "last week was a perfect storm".

"Parliament and the parliamentary Labour party were roiled by the vote on Brexit. There were journalists outside my house on a daily basis; a Tory councillor was suspended for retweeting an image of me as an ape with lipstick. And accompanying it all, a crescendo of blatantly racist and sexist abuse online.

"Then, just when I thought the worst was over, there was horrible coverage in a Sunday tabloid of a misogynist text exchange about me sent by a cabinet minister."

Click here to read the full article published by the BBC on 15 February 2017.

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