Diane Abbott fears she will be raped or murdered by trolls and extremists and is convinced that a fanatic like Jo Cox’s killer has a room full of her pictures
- Diane Abbott said she didn’t think she was in danger until Jo Cox was murdered
- Police officer told her MP’s killer had room bedecked with photos of his victim
- She became convinced ‘someone out there’ had a room full of images of her
- Her comments were made in book by Labour MP called Women of Westminster
Diane Abbott has spoken of her fears that she could be murdered or raped by one of the Right-wing extremists and social media trolls who bombard her with vile threats.
She said she never used to think she was in such danger but the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-Right extremist in 2016 changed her view.
The shadow home secretary said it dawned on her after being told Mrs Cox’s killer had a room bedecked with photos of his victim.
It convinced Miss Abbott that ‘someone out there’ had a room full of images of her – and she could suffer the same fate.
Diane Abbott, left, has spoken about her fears that she could be murdered or raped by Right-wing extremists and social media trolls. She said she never worried about being in danger until after Labour MP Jo Cox, right, was murdered in 2016
Her comments appear in Women of Westminster, a new book by Labour MP Rachel Reeves, which also provides details of similar threats made against moderate female Labour MPs by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.
Miss Abbott’s concern was disclosed on International Women’s Day – 24 hours after Home Secretary Amber Rudd had to apologise for clumsily referring to her as ‘coloured’.
When police raided the home of Batley and Spen MP Mrs Cox’s killer, Thomas Mair, 55, they found his bookshelves packed with volumes about the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan.
Days before his frenzied attack, he trawled the internet for information about Mrs Cox.
Miss Reeves’s book states: ‘Previously, Diane Abbott thought that the chance of abusers following through with rape or death threats was slim. “I’ve always said it’ll never happen,” she told me. “But when Jo Cox was killed, that was really shocking to me because I had to face the fact that it could happen.”’
Miss Reeves describes Miss Abbott’s alarm when she met a policeman involved in the probe into the murder of Mrs Cox who told her a wall in the killer’s home was covered with photos of his victim.
Miss Abbott said she never used to think she was in such danger until after the murder, crime scene pictured, of the Batley and Spen MP
‘Diane thought to herself: “I have no doubt that there’s someone out there with a whole wall papered with pictures of me.” ’
Miss Abbott, who according to Miss Reeves is the victim of more online abuse than any other female MP, also discussed social media.
‘When I was a new MP if you wanted to write an abusive letter to an MP you literally had to write it out, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, walk to the letterbox, and so maybe we got one racist letter a month,’ Miss Abbott said. ‘Now you can press a button to send all of this abuse.’
She added: ‘You don’t get inured to it, it’s very painful and personally corrosive.’ But she would not give in to her abusers, saying: ‘If I was to say I’m going to step down from Parliament because I can’t take it, then they would have won.’
Miss Reeves says that while many online trolls who attack female Labour MPs were far-Right extremists, some of the worst abuse came from Corbynistas.
Moderate Labour MPs Liz Kendall and Angela Eagle were both victims of hard-Left hate when they stood against Mr Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest, she says.
Miss Kendall was called ‘Tory scum, a witch and a cow’ while one email sent to Miss Eagle said: ‘If you become Labour leader… you will die bitch… this is my one and only warning. Next time you see me I’ll be with a real gun or knife cutting your life to an end.’
In a separate interview yesterday, Miss Abbott used The House magazine to call for social media trolls to be stripped of their anonymity. ‘Twitter or Facebook should have your real name or address,’ she said.