Iain Dale challenges Diane Abbott over 'divisive' tweet

24 May 2021, 21:32 | Updated: 24 May 2021, 21:35

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the moment Iain Dale challenged Labour MP Diane Abbott over a tweet about the shooting of Black activist Sasha Johnson.

The exchange happened on Monday's edition of Cross Question where Ms Abbott was appearing on the panel.

Iain Dale said the MP had made a tweet that saw her come "under a lot of fire on Twitter," asking if the tweet had "inflamed racial divides."

Sasha Johnson is in a critical condition in hospital after she was shot in the head in Peckham, south-east London, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Read more: Black Lives Matter activist fights for life after being shot ‘in drive-by’

Cross Question with Iain Dale – LBC’s hugely popular Wednesday night political debate programme – has been extended to three nights a week, Monday to Wednesday, 8pm to 9pm, from today!

Watch Again: LBC's Monday night Cross Question debate

Police said there is no evidence that the 27-year-old campaigner was the intended target of the shooting.

But, Ms Abbott's tweet sparked controversy after linking the shooting to racial justice.

Iain pointed out that witnesses had suggested it was a gangland shooting, challenging the MP over 'inflamed racial divides by tweeting something when you hadn't done your homework."

"No," the MP replied as she refuted the allegation Iain had put to her.

Explaining "if you raise issues of race and are accused of inflaming tensions, that doesn't get us anywhere fast."

She called on the public to take the issue seriously.

Oxford graduate Ms Johnson is a known figure in the Black Lives Matter movement and is described as "a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community" by the Taking The Initiative Party, of which she is a member.

In a statement, the TTIP said: "It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has sustained a gunshot wound to her head.

"She is currently hospitalised and in a critical condition.

"The incident happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats.

"Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community, as well as being both a member of BLM and a member of Taking The Initiative Party's executive leadership committee."

A Met Police spokesman said there is nothing to suggest it was a targeted attack.

Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele said: "This was a shocking incident that has left a young woman with very serious injuries.

"Our thoughts are with her family, who are being provided with support at this terribly difficult time.

"A dedicated team of detectives is working tirelessly to identify the person or persons responsible for this shooting.

"They are making good progress but they need the public's help.

"If you saw anything suspicious in the Consort Road area in the early hours of Sunday morning or if you have heard information since that could help detectives, it is crucial that you get in touch."