In a car crash performance on BBC’s Question Time Ms Abbott, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s leading hard left allies, refused to answer five times whether the former London Mayor should be kicked out of Labour for repeatedly claiming Hitler was a Zionist.
However, the shadow Home Secretary had less problems smearing Leave supporters by claiming that Brexit was a cause of racism.
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The controversy around Mr Livingstone was raised after he escaped expulsion from the party’s disciplinary committee and was instead suspended for a year.
The decision was widely condemned by Jewish groups and others who described the veteran hard left politician as antisemitic.
Mr Livingstone is now under investigation again for repeating the same offensive claims and a member of the Question Time audience asked if he should go.
Diane Abbott dodged questions on Ken Livingstone in a 'car crash' appearance on Question Time
Ms Abbott, who had been a long term political friend and ally refused to answer the question directly despite the audience three times shouting “yes or no?” another audience member “can you be clear please?” and fellow panellist Michelle Dewberry asking “do you think he should be expelled?”
What is worse he keeps on repeating it
The shadow Home Secretary said Mr Livingstone had been “a great mayor of London” and managed to condemn his words.
She said: “What I would say is this. Ken’s insistence on making totally spurious and hurtful and hatemongering links between Hitler and Zionism has appalled most of us in the Labour party.
“And what is worse he keeps on repeating it.”
Diane Abbott's most controversial quotes Fri, April 7, 2017
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Outspoken Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott holds strong opinions which does not always go down well.
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Abortion is an issue of conscience for the Labour party.
She insisted she had not seen the evidence which resulted in the decision not to expel him.
But when Unite general secretary candidate Gerard Coyne, a Labour member, said the party had a “problem with antisemitism”, she snapped: “I am sorry you feel the need to attack your party.”
Ms Dewberry told her: “Your party is currently a joke for numerous different reasons, this is just one of them. You just need to get some credibility and a backbone.”
The Labour Party were branded a joke following the the shadow Home Secretary's performance
Tory MP Suella Fernandes said: “The bigger problem is Jeremy Corbyn himself. When he says he is friends with [antisemitic Muslim terrorist groups] Hamas and Hezbolah he is portraying a deliberate lack of moral leadership.”
Earlier an angry audience member demanded Ms Abbott apologised for reported comments that Brexit supporters were racist.
Ms Abbott insisted she had not seen the evidence that resulted in Mr Livingstone not being expelled
He said: “Do you have any remorse or any apology to make over the disgusting comments you made against me and the millions of innocent people who voted Leave when you said that because they voted Leave, they don’t like the look of foreign people – they must be racist or xenophobic.”
But Ms Abbott denied that she had said Brexit supporters were racist before adding: “But, there is no question that in the month after the Brexit vote, we had a 41 per cent rise in race hate.”