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Coffee House General Election 2017 Steerpike

Watch: Diane Abbott’s hair-raising Andrew Marr interview

28 May 2017

10:37 AM

28 May 2017

10:37 AM

With Labour beginning to gain ground in the polls, the party will be keen to keep its momentum going in the final days of the campaign. So, whichever brain at Labour HQ decided it was a good idea to send Diane Abbott onto the Andrew Marr show has some explaining to do.

Explaining her credentials to take on one of the great offices of state come June 9, the shadow home secretary said she was confident she was up to the job as she had spent time in the Home Office as a graduate trainee.


When Marr moved onto Abbott’s questionable views on the IRA, she came up with an even more novel answer. Comparing her words of support for the IRA to her decision to have an afro, Abbott said her views — like her hair — have changed:

AM: Jeremy Corbyn got into some trouble in his Andrew Neil interview when he said he had not met the IRA and he was then photographed with lots of people from the IRA. You yourself said that it would a defeat for the British state would be a great liberation, a great move forward. Do you regret your support for the IRA back in the eighties?

DA: That particular quote you’re referring to comes from a now defunct left wing newspaper.

AM: But you said it…

DA: … but what I’m saying is: it was 34 years ago, I had a rather splendid afro at the time. I don’t have the same hairstyle and I don’t have the same views. The hairstyle has gone and some of the views have gone.

And again:

AM: Do you think those statements now are wrong?

DA: It was 34 years ago and I’ve moved on.

Happily, Amber Rudd was on hand to put Abbott’s hair comments into perspective;

‘I’ve changed my hairstyle a few times in 34 years too. But I’ve not changed my view on how to keep the public safe.’

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