Diane Abbott MP delivering her keynote speech 'Children and public health: putting families at the heart of policy'

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott remains steadfast in refusing to comment on a motion passed by her local Labour group rejecting claims of institutional antisemitism in the party.

Requests for a statement have been forthcoming from media outlets but Abbot, and her press team, have been silent since Hackney North and Stoke Newington Constituency Labour Party passed a motion by 45 votes to 35, with 14 abstentions, last Thursday.

The result has been widely criticised in the media.

Abbott according to unconfirmed reports, was present at the meeting but failed to challenge members on the result.

Her office reportedly said she was unavailable for comment due to “constituency commitments” but no statement has been forthcoming.

Abbot’s actions were a big talking point on talk shows at the weekend.

Speaking on LBC Radio, Jewish actress Maureen Lipman slammed her actions, likening Abbot to Chris Grayling’s ineffectiveness in the Tory ranks after he faced resignation calls following Eurotunnel’s High Court win after successfully challenging a Government decision to award contracts worth £108 million to three ferry as part of no-deal Brexit plans.

Where Grayling’s gaffe brought plenty of criticism, Abbot has been ridiculed over her refusal to comment over an issue that has plagued her party for months.

LBC radio host Andrew Castle asked the well-known actress, “What would you say to Diane Abbott, who is allowed a motion and did not object, allowing a motion to firmly reject accusations of anti-Semitism in the local party?

Ms Lipman responded, “Diane Abbott is the Labour Party’s Chris Grayling. You just give up really. What is she doing there? There is no way to explain Diane Abbott.

“She has got kids in private school, she doesn’t know the numbers when she comes on the radio, and she cannot control her own breath when she’s speaking.

“It’s pointless, pointless.”

The motion stated that the Constituency Labour Party noted with increasing alarm “the acceptance of the ‘fact’ that the Labour Party is ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’ by not only the media, but the right wing of the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party)”.

It continued, “It is distracting people’s attention away from the calamitous consequences of the Tory Government’s continuing austerity and its disastrous handling of the Brexit issue as it nears the 29 March deadline.

“It is a scandal that we are allowing ourselves to be branded as a racist party.”

Abbott told a conference in London on Saturday that she had spent a lifetime fighting racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as was proud Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the party.

But tellingly, there was no comment on the motion, which called on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to immediately implement ballot procedures in all constituencies to give party members the power to decide on the future of their MPs.

The motion, which was submitted after controversial Derby MP Chris Williamson was suspended by Labour for saying the party had been “too apologetic” during the anti-Semitism row, and followed the much-publicised resignation of initially seven MPs over the party’s handling of anti-Semitism, also stated it was unacceptable to allow “representatives to slander the party and its members whilst we put them into office.”

A Labour Party spokesman said that while anti-Semitism complaints since April related to 0.1 percent of its membership “one anti-Semite in our party is one too many”.

The spokesman added: “We are determined to tackle antisemitism and root it out of our party once and for all membership.”

By Adam Moses