With Theresa May on the back foot today over Tory cuts to police numbers, CCHQ can count their lucky stars that Diane Abbott has been doing the media rounds this evening. The shadow home secretary was interviewed by Dermot Murnaghan this evening on Labour’s position on terrorism measures following Saturday’s attack.
However, Abbott soon hit a problem when Murnaghan asked her about the 2016 Lord Harris report on improving London’s terror preparedness. It soon became clear that Abbott was not familiar with its contents – not that she was willing to admit this:
DA: I think we do need to revisit that report
DM: Which part of it?
DA: Well, I just think it’s about preparedness and resilience
DM: But he makes some very specific recommendations that haven’t been acted on, do you know what they are?
DA: Well, I mean he was talking about preparedness… and resilience.
Abbott was then pressed further on the report’s contents:
DM: The report came out in October 2016, and Lord Harris had some bullet points. That’s what I’ve read through, what did you make of those? The specifics.
DA: I thought… because I know Toby Harris, he’s a longstanding friend of mine…
DM: Very full blown inquiry.
DA: I thought it was an important inquiry and I think we should act on it.
Abbott went on to deny claims that the Leader’s Office were trying to keep her off the airwaves. After tonight’s performance, they may think about doing so.