Diane Abbott MP has been in the press recently because of a Conservative Party donor’s racist words towards her. Bukunola Adekolu explains what happened, and says as Christians, we cannot keep silent.


Source: Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

The events that unfolded last week further proved what we already knew—that it was not only socially but also politically rewarding to disrespect Britain’s first Black woman MP, exposing the alarming complicity of our society and Britain as a whole.

Now, let’s recap what happened. We found out Frank Hester, a Conservative Party donor, made this remark five years ago: “It’s like trying not to be racist but you see Diane Abbott on the TV, and you’re just like… you just want to hate all Black women because she’s there.” “And I don’t hate all Black women at all, but I think she should be shot.”

Hester admitted his comments were rude, not racist. 

Hester admitted his comments were rude, not racist. Prominent Tory figures initially remained silent, but later acknowledged the remarks were racist and called for Ms Abbott to accept the apology. 

There were then debates on the non-racist and non-extremist nature of the comments.

The Commons speaker, who some weeks ago displayed performative emotion and concern for MP’s safety, oddly did not extend the same to Ms. Abbott and humiliated her in the most powerful workplace in the country.

·Finally, the Labour Party used the incident to solicit donations.

We should not tolerate these inflammatory comments, and there must be swift action and consequences. Otherwise, we risk normalising it.

We should not tolerate these inflammatory comments, and there must be swift action and consequences. Otherwise, we risk normalising it.

In her statement to Good morning Britain, Diane Abbott said, “it is frightening…I am a single woman, and that makes me vulnerable, anyway. But to hear someone talking like this is worrying.”

Hester’s words were offensive and incited violence against her and other Black women. If someone had spoken those words about a white female MP, they would have been arrested by now and publicly shamed.

Black women are the most disrespected, neglected, and unprotected people in society. Living in a world that is both patriarchal and racist means navigating double oppression. Which has been Ms. Abbott’s experience as an MP.

The British society has deemed her unworthy of respect; from Amnesty International research revealing she received half of all the abusive tweets targeted at female MPs, to fellow labour MPs and staffers openly mocking and insulting her and the Labour leadership turning a blind eye. Her suspension and the subsequent investigation by the party have felt like an extended witch hunt, with no basis in truth or fairness; and the media’s racist portrayal by using unflattering photos of her.

Despite enduring repeated humiliation, the public remains silent spectators, expecting her to react with measured, mannered, and humble responses.

Deuteronomy 16:20 says: ’Follow justice and justice alone.’. We must be wary of the danger of ignoring such atrocities, particularly because our faith urges us to advocate for the oppressed and reject any form of dehumanisation. When harm occurs, believers must respond with humility, active listening, responsibility, and demand for change.

The political class has disregarded Ms Abbott’s wellbeing, so let’s send care, love and solidarity her way, so she knows she is not alone. It can be just replying to one of her tweets in a positive way. Also, her expressed vulnerability underscores the need to prioritise her safety. We should request for the government and the Labour Party to take concrete measures to ensure her protection.

The recipients of Frank Hester’s financial contribution have downplayed his remarks to shield him and centred themselves by urging forgiveness. While I can’t speak for Ms Abott, I believe that true healing and repair cannot happen if Hester’s comment goes unpunished.

It is imperative that we unite in public condemnation of his statement and insist Hester be held accountable. Take action by writing to your local MP and urge them to do more—here is a helpful template to get you started.

Diane Abbott has faced severe racism and misogyny, and it is undeniable that there has been a complete failure to address this. Let’s take a firm stance and send a message that we will not tolerate any attempts to minimise the violence she endured.