Diane Abbott walks away after she's asked to explain Jewish 'costume' comment

She walks away from fellow Tube passenger after he asked what she meant while filming her


Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has refused to clarify remarks she made on BBC Question Time earlier this year where she suggested members of the charedi community became targets of hate crime because of the “costume” they wore.

Last week, she was asked by London tube train passenger Alex Rose to explain the comments but Ms Abbott was clearly in no mood to talk as she ignored his question and stood up from her seat to sit away from him further along the busy carriage.



Mr Rose, 18, from Cockfosters, north London, told the JC: "I looked up from my seat and I saw it was Diane Abbott sitting in front of me on the tube.

“Whilst I recognise that Diane was basically trying to speak out on Question Time about the problem of hate crime against Jews, I found her description of the charedi dress as being something akin to wearing a ‘costume’ a bit troubling.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk amongst left-wing figures about the need for politicians to be more accountable to voters, and not just allowing themselves to be stuck in the Westminster bubble.

“But it was clear that Diane Abbott didn’t want to speak to me – which is a shame.”

In a video recording of the incident, Mr Rose can be heard asking Jeremy Corbyn’s close ally: “The Jewish people - Why did you tell us that you wear costumes?

“You said the costumes they wear in Stamford Hill – I watched Question Time that day when you said about the costumes you wear.

“Because it’s not called a costume, love – it’s called a religious piece of clothing.”

During her Question Time appearance, the shadow home secretary was answering a question from the audience about why Labour has “such a problem with antisemitism”.

She said: “In my constituency, I have a community of charedi Jews that are actually subject to hate crime more than other Jews, because they wear that costume, they walk to synagogue.

“But because I take it seriously I’m not going to make it some sort of party political gain.”

After the comment, Rabbi Avraham Pinter, a leading charedi Rabbi and former Labour councillor, defended Ms Abbott, saying: "The trouble is most people don’t know what is going on in our community.

“Diane raised two issues that are important, one was to do with hate crime and the other was to do with what is happening with Ofsted.”

On Monday, Ms Abbott leapt to the defence of Mr Corbyn after fellow Labour MP Chukka Umunna said the party was now “institutionally racist.”

She wrote on Twitter: “Labour now has the most anti-racist leader in its history. But exactly at this point it is suggested Labour is institutionally racist? This isn't fighting racism. It's fighting Jeremy Corbyn.”

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