Women and minority groups may be put off politics because of the level of abuse they receive, according to Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.
Writing in the Guardian, Ms Abbott referred to the previous week as a “perfect storm of abusive events”, which prompted her to speak out issues she’s faced for the first time.
She said: “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 b**** and/or ni**a, and am sent horrible images on Twitter.”
Referring to the aftermath of the Article 50 vote, Ms Abbott said: “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.”
Ms Abbott spoke of concerns that “the politics of personal destruction” would ultimately stop females from highlighting their abuse in public and added:
“Not only does it tend to marginalise the female ‘offender’, but other women look at how those of us in the public space are treated and think twice about speaking up publicly, let alone getting involved in political activity.”
Ms Abbott said she believed the abuse received by females in the media would make others think twice about “getting involved in political activity”.
Recently, Alan Pearmain, a Conservative politician was suspended for an offensive tweet he wrote about Diane Abbott. Pearmain, deputy chairman of the South Ribble Conservative Association, shared a tweet in December that showed Ms Abbott as an lipstick wearing ape in a zoo. He captioned the post: “Forget the London look, get the Diane Abbott look”.