Diane Abbott stands by claim John Bercow couldn’t have intimidated Black Rod

Diane Abbott has faced backlash after suggesting on Twitter that parliamentary official David Leakey couldn’t be bullied after being in the army. She fiercely defended her tweet regarding David Leakey’s claim that he was bullied by Mr Bercow. In a post on social media, which has since been deleted, Ms Abbott said regarding the bullying allegations: “Allegations come from the former parliamentary official David Leakey. He had been a Lieutenant General who served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Bosnia. But claims he was bullied i.e intimidated and coerced by John Bercow. Unlikely.”

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Ms Abbott said: “Anybody can be bullied. Anybody of any age or any profession can be bullied.

“I think intimidating Leakey is one thing but of course anyone can be bullied.”

Ms Ridge asked: “Anyone can be intimidated as well, can’t they?”

The MP for Hackney North continued: “Anybody can be intimidated but I think that given Leakey and the leadership roles he has played; I think it is unlikely he was intimidated by John Bercow.

“Annoyed and insulted by John Bercow but not intimidated.”

She continued: “Anybody can be abused and I know more than some members of parliament because I remain the most abused online than any Labour MP.

“But all I was saying was given Leakey’s history, it seems unlikely that he would be intimidated by John Bercow.”

The ex-Speaker of the House of Commons has denied all claims of bullying during his role.

On the show, Ms Abbott went on to say she will stand down on frontline politics when Jeremy Cobryn steps down in April and a successor is named.

The Shadow Home Secretary, who supports Rebecca Long-Bailey to be the next Labour leader, said she will be stepping down when a new leader is elected.

She will be returning to the backbenches as the next leader must “construct their own shadow cabinet”.

Ms Abbott was asked whether she would serve in the next leader’s Shadow Cabinet after outgoing leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would happily serve under Rebecca Long-Bailey.


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Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Ms Abbott said: “I will be stepping down because I think that the new leader, they have to be able to construct their own shadow cabinet.

“I was a backbencher for a few years and there’s an awful lot to do on the backbenches.

“One of the things that I will want to do is make sure we don’t make a swerve to the right on migration policy.

“I think that’s a dead end for the Labour Party.

“We have to stand by our principles and stand by our values and make sure we have an immigration policy which is fair and workable.”

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