Last night, Diane Abbott used an appearance on Sky News to insist that she had not been sidelined by the Leader’s Office in light of her recent interview performances. However, in that same interview she went on to generate more negative headlines when the shadow home secretary appeared to have little to no knowledge of the Lord Harris report on improving London’s terror preparedness.
So, Mr S was curious to learn that today Abbott has mysteriously dropped out of a scheduled appearance on Woman’s Hour – with Emily Thornberry being lined up to replace her. While one Labour source tells Steerpike that Abbott has been ‘spoken to’ following her disastrous interview last night, Mr S fears that today’s absence signals the return of ‘the migraine’. Abbott’s migraines have a habit of coming on at the worst times – such as the Article 50 vote that she missed.
Labour canvassers complain that Abbott is a ‘doorstep issue’, which is shown by the fact Theresa May name-checked the shadow home secretary several times in a recent speech on security. No doubt CCHQ will be hoping she makes a speedy recovery…
Update: The plot thickens. Labour claim the reason Abbott did not appear on Woman’s Hour is that she was unwell. However, a snap happy commuter claims that they saw Abbott at Oxford Circus tube (a few minutes walk from BBC New Broadcasting House) at 8.40am this morning — on the phone:
— Nick Astaire (@nickastaire) June 6, 2017
Perhaps the call was Labour HQ with her diagnosis…
Update II: First Woman’s Hour, now the Evening Standard election hustings. George Osborne reports that Abbott has pulled out of his paper’s hustings:
Diane Abbott has pulled out of @EveningStandard hustings. It's not like someone who wants to be Home Sec has much to talk about these days..
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) June 6, 2017