talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer has said Amber Rudd should not be called a “racist” after the Work and Pensions Secretary referred to Diane Abbott as a “coloured woman”.
Ms Rudd apologised after she made the comment in an interview with BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine about online abuse suffered by women, saying she was "mortified" by her "clumsy" use of language.
Hosting her show, Julia said: “I do know the difference between saying someone is coloured, and saying people of colour.
“The word “coloured” has lots of connotations as it was a term used during apartheid in South Africa and used by white supremacists in America in the 1950s.
“I absolutely understand that but when someone is trying to make a well-meaning point and they misspeak, we would do well to not to call them a racist.
“At this point in British language and discourse, these words are beginning to lose their meaning.
“If we shout the r-word at every single person because we choose to take offence – we are going to lose the ability to see genuine racism when it really does exist.”
Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said the term "coloured" was "outdated" and "offensive", and was a "revealing choice of words" from the Work and Pensions Secretary.
Julia defended Ms Rudd saying she had simply “misspoke” while attempting to draw attention to the racist abuse Ms Abbott receives online.
“Diane Abbott said that she found it offence despite the fact that Amber Rudd was trying to defend Diane Abbott and was criticising the horrific racist and sexist abuse that she receives online,” Julia said.
“It is quite clear to me that Amber Rudd misspoke. I am not defending her because she is a Tory and I am not a defender of this government.
“I am certainly not defending her when she is a Remainer. As a Brexiteer, it would be in my interests for her to be ousted from the government.
“But we need to keep our sights on the real issues; when we have children stabbing each other to death on our streets, when we have anti-semitism in the Labour party and genuine racism across all sides – left and right – can we keep our eyes on the prize of actually tackling proper hate crime? Instead of a well-meaning, misspeaking woman.”