The Tory Brexit Secretary was forced to issue an apology after texts which appeared to insult the shadow home secretary’s appearance were leaked to the press.
In the texts, Mr Davis was asked if he had tried to hug Ms Abbott in a bar after the final vote on the Article 50 bill in the House of Commons, and replied: “I am not blind”.
Ms Webbe claimed that the text messages were “racist, sexist and absolutely vile, and should not have happened”.
Julia Hartley-Brewer hit back at a guest who said David Davis' Diane Abbott text messages are racist
I think the allegation that this man was racist because he doesn’t want to kiss Diane Abbott is absurd
“The reality of what he did was you cannot ignore Diane’s identity,” she added.
“She has an identity as a black woman, as the first black woman MP – that is her identity.
“If you look on social media after what he did and see the level of racism, sexism, the level of vile abuse she has suffered.”
Hartley-Brewer instantly fired back, accusing Ms Webbe of blowing the situation out of proportion.
She agreed with her guest that Ms Abbott has been subjected to “absolutely horrific” social media abuse, adding there was no reason for Ms Webbe to suggest that Mr Davis’ text messages were racially motivated.
Hartley-Brewer said: “Some of the stuff she gets is absolutely horrific, I absolutely agree with you and I do definitely think it is aimed at her because of the colour of her skin.
“I absolutely accept that – it is appalling and absolutely unacceptable. But in what way does a private text message… I genuinely don’t believe what David Davis did on Wednesday night – I’ve read all of the different accounts – in no way was that anything other than treating her, frankly, as one of the boys and taking the Mick out of her.
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“There was nothing sexist about it and I think the allegation that this man was racist because he doesn’t want to kiss Diane Abbott…
Diane Abbott's most controversial quotes Mon, February 6, 2017
Outspoken Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott holds strong opinions which does not always go down well.
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Being an MP is a good job, the sort of job all working-class parents want for their children — clean, indoors and no heavy lifting. What could be nicer?
“He sent a private text to another MP in what way does that say, ‘By the way can everybody send vile, racist, sexist abuse to Diane Abbott,’ in what way does he encourage that?”
A spokesman for the Brexit Secretary has since insisted that Mr Davis was joking, and added: “This was self-evidently jocular and private exchange with a friend.
“The Secretary of State is very sorry for any offence caused to Ms Abbott, someone he has known and respected for many years.”
Following the reports, Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “You’d have hop[ed this sort of misogynistic, sexist attitude had gone out in the 1950s.”
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