Corbyn ally Barry Gardiner: 'Diane Abbott has a long-term illness... but I'm not sure what it is'

Labour's Barry Gardiner says his understanding is that Diane Abbott has a serious long term illness

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Julia Hartley-Brewer had a feisty interview with one of Jeremy Corbyn's senior allies this morning after Diane Abbott was replaced as shadow home secretary on the eve of the election.

Barry Gardiner insisted that Abbott was ill and it's a long-term condition. However he didn't know exactly what the condition is, saying he and his Labour colleagues haven't been told.

Gardiner said "Diane is clearly not well. I understand it's a condition that'd been diagnosed and is long-term. Anybody who's seen her in the past couple of weeks would realise that she was showing that she was not well in the way that she had been operating.

"I'm sorry for her. Obviously she's got these condition and clearly it's a matter for her to get properly diagnosed and properly treated.

"Everyone knew Diane did not perform well on a couple of programmes, what we didn't know was why. Now that has become clear."

When pressed on the details, Gardiner said "I don't have her medical condition, I'm given to understand that she has been diagnosed with her medical condition, it's a long-term condition, and she's been coming to terms with that."

Gardiner also refused to reveal the source of the information, saying only that it was an official in the Labour party.

Julia also pressed Gardiner on a purported email exchange which has appeared on social media, in which Abbott appears to discuss "adding colour" to the story of her illness with a prankster posing as Labour spin doctor Seumas Milne. 

Gardiner said he knows nothing of any such exchange, despite it being in the national press.

Listen above