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Diane Abbott vows 'I’ll go back on Question Time' during Wolverhampton visit - PICTURES and VIDEO

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | Politics | Published:

Diane Abbott has revealed she would return to Question Time despite her “horrible experience” on the show, insisting: “I’ve got a job to do”.

Diane Abbott pointed out her views on Question Time during her visit

The Shadow Home Secretary was in Wolverhampton as a guest of city MP Eleanor Smith, drawing a crowd of more than 200 to the Heritage Centre in Whitmore Reans to discuss crime and safer communities.

And Ms Abbott, who claims she was poorly treated by Question Time presenter Fiona Bruce on last week’s programme, told the Express & Star she would have no problem returning to the BBC show if the party asked her to do it.

WATCH: Diane Abbott makes Question Time vow

Diane Abbott speaks out about 'horrible experience' on BBC's Question Time

Labour has lodged a formal complaint with the broadcaster over Ms Abbott’s treatment, after the MP claimed she was repeatedly interrupted, and singled out with unpleasant remarks before the show.

Ms Abbott said: “I can always go back on Question Time. I think many members of the audience and many people watching at home were very upset with how I was treated.

“But you know I’ve got a job to do and if I need to go back on Question Time, if the party ask me to do it, I’ll do it.”

Diane Abbott with Wolverhampton South East MP Eleanor Smith.

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Ms Abbott was mobbed during her visit to the West Midlands, with Labour supporters in the packed Heritage Centre posing for selfies with the MP and offering her their support.

Among the crowd were city councillors including Claire Darke, Sandra Samuels and Greg Brackenridge, and the region’s Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Ashley Bertie.

Ms Abbott’s visit coincided with the release of the latest crime statistics, which for the West Midlands showed a 26 per cent spike in violent crime as part of an overall rise of 10 per cent.

WATCH: Diane Abbott speaks out on law and order

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Diane Abbott joins 200 residents to discuss crime in the West Midlands

She said she had spoken to victims of crime at the centre who told her they had called the police “but nobody comes”.

Hitting out at the Tories “appalling record” on law and order, she said: “We’ve had crime stats where we are still seeing a rise in violent crime, including here in the West Midlands. People are very worried about violent crime, but they think that as well as having more police on the street, we have to look at the underlying causes, like education, like homelessness. We want to bring in 10,000 police officers. But we also want to look at other issues like employment and education... the support that young women get with their children.

“Sadly the path to criminal activity for some young children starts when they are young.”

Diane Abbott spoke with guests at the heritage centre

Ms Abbott, who has been appointed to Labour’s ruling NEC, backed Jeremy Corbyn over his refusal to meet Theresa May for Brexit talks, claiming that when Mr Corbyn had previously reached out over the issue “we never got a phone call”.

“Back in September Jeremy said in his speech at conference that he was happy to speak to Theresa May about a Brexit that would work for the British people, involving the customs union, a close relationship with the single market, worker protections and so on,” she said.

“The reason that we want her to take ‘no deal’ off the table, is because industry and business think that ‘no deal’ will be catastrophic.

Diane meeting people during the event

“Some people think ‘no deal’ means things go on as before. Actually if you don’t have a deal, a lot of treaty arrangements we have with the EU, for things such as accessing criminal data bases and so on, will fall, and that would be catastrophic.”

Wolverhampton South West MP Ms Smith said she was “over the moon” to have welcomed Ms Abbott to the city, describing her as “a person that everybody respects and loves”. She’s been amazing and people have responded to her,” Ms Smith said. She said that her colleague receives unfair treatment in the media, adding: “That comes with the territory. She’s a job to do and she will carry on regardless.”

On the rise in crime, Ms Smith said: “We are trying to deal with it in my area. It’s not just policing, we also need other strategies like public health, and that’s what they have in Scotland. We are working with the local council and the Police and Crime Commissioner to try and get some more funds.

“When I was going around the tables, a lot of people were talking about youth, and the need for more services for young people.” She added that she wanted to see the creation of more skilled technical jobs, “which is what young people want to do”.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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