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Abbott says sorry for race tweet

Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott has apologised after claiming "white people love playing 'divide & rule'".

The shadow public health minister faced demands for her resignation over the remark, made on Twitter.

She was rebuked by the Labour Party, which said it was "wrong" to make such "sweeping generalisatons".

In a statement, issued by Labour, Ms Abbott said: "I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that. I apologise for any offence caused."

In an earlier interview with Sky News she made no attempt to apologise and said that her comments had been interpreted "maliciously".

She claimed she had been referring to "19th century European colonialism", adding: "I think the tweet was taken out of context and some people have interpreted it maliciously," she said. Asked to elaborate, she broke off from the interview to take a telephone call.

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP was addressing a freelance journalist on Twitter yesterday when she wrote: "White people love playing 'divide & rule'. We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism."

Mr Miliband told Ms Abbott that the remark was unacceptable, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said, adding that after the years Ms Abbott had spent campaigning for equality and against prejudice people would not "seriously think Diane is a racist".

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi called for her resignation and said Ms Abbott, the first black woman MP, "of all people should lead by example". But David Cameron - who famously said in 2009 that he did not use Twitter because too many tweets "might make a twat" - declined to comment in detail on the row.

Asked about Ms Abbott during a visit to inspect construction work at Hereford's new enterprise zone, the Prime Minister joked: "You know my rule about politicians and tweeting - another good example."


From Belfast Telegraph