No evidence Diane Abbott said quote about ‘the problem with Britain’

1 February 2023
What was claimed

Diane Abbott once said: “The problem in Britain is not immigration, the problem in Britain is white people.”

Our verdict

There is no evidence she said this, and she denies it.

People have been claiming online for years that Labour MP Diane Abbott once said “The problem in Britain is not immigration, the problem in Britain is white people”. The claim has reappeared on Facebook recently.

There is no evidence she ever said it.

The earliest version of the claim we could find was back in 2014. Searching the phrase on Google doesn’t find any evidence of her actually saying it.

Full Fact has contacted Ms Abbott to verify this claim. The MP previously told Reuters she had “no record or recollection of ever saying this”.

“It is not something I would ever intentionally say because it is not something I agree with,” she added.

Just over a decade ago, Ms Abbott did apologise after tweeting: “White people love playing “divide & rule” We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism”. That 2012 tweet has now been deleted.

She later said the tweet had been taken out of context and apologised for any offence caused. She said in a statement: “I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that.”

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