Diane Abbott made the unfounded claim that Boris Johnson is ‘rumoured to like assaulting women’ and accused him of hypocrisy while responding to a question about allegations surrounding Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House, The Labour MP made the statement about the Prime Minister while discussing reports that Mr Pincher groped two men in a London club.
When asked if a man sexually assaulting a woman would have been treated differently from Mr Pincher allegedly groping two men, the former shadow home secretary said ‘It might be treated differently’.
However she continued on and levelled an unsubstantiated allegation at the Prime Minister.
The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP said: ‘But that’s because Boris Johnson has been rumoured to be the one who likes assaulting women. So it’s sheer hypocrisy from him.’
Labour MP Diane Abbott claimed that Boris Johnson is ‘rumoured to like assaulting women’ on a BBC Radio 4 programme yesterday
On the topic of Chris Pincher, Tory ministers have insisted that Boris Johnson didn’t know about allegations against but they have made no statement about Ms Abbott’s claims
Host Paddy O’Connell quickly intervened, rebuking the claim he said: ‘That’s not been printed this morning, it’s not being said by the BBC.
‘Diane, you’ve got to answer my questions rather than raising new claims.’
The BBC temporarily removed the programme from its catch-up service to edit out the segment.
A spokesperson said: ‘For editorial reasons, we are editing today’s episode of Broadcasting House,’ a spokesman said in a statement.
‘We are working to make it available to listeners as soon as possible.’
There have been six claims made against the Tamworth MP
In the available version the majority of the interview, in which Abbott quips ‘Pincher by name, pincher by nature’, is still available to listen to.
When asked if the sort of behaviour involved in the allegations towards Mr Pincher have always been a problem in Parliament she responded: ‘I think that we probably know more about it now than we knew 30 years ago.
‘When I first became an MP there was very much the sense that Westminster was a club and what happened in Westminster stayed in Westminster, but with online, twitter it’s very hard to keep things a secret.’
Ms Abbott also praised the increase in ‘transparency’ when it came to reporting sexual harassment allegations and backed the idea of an independent HR system for Parliament.
She suggested the fact complaints had been made to the parliamentary authorities represented progress from a few decades ago, when she said male staffers would have been far less likely to contact the Whips’ Office.
Downing Street declined to comment.
The Labour Party were contacted for comment.