An odd thing has been happening at Conservative party conference. The Labour MP Diane Abbott is getting a lot of high-profile praise.
The Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Prime Minister Theresa May both used their official speeches to champion the shadow home secretary.
Javid spoke about Abbott as a role model and pioneer in UK politics. “People like Diane Abbott. Yes, Diane Abbott. We might disagree with the shadow Home Secretary on almost all her policies. But it takes guts and determination to become the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons. And we should pay tribute to that.”
Similarly, May defended the politician in her leader’s speech:
“It’s not only Conservatives who are facing abuse. The first black woman ever to be elected to the House of Commons receives more racist and misogynist messages today than when she first stood over 30 years ago. You do not have to agree with a word Diane Abbott says to believe passionately in her right to say it, free from threats and abuse.”
The only problem is, of course, that the Conservative party fanned the flames of that abuse by using Abbott as a target for their election campaign last year – running relentlessly negative messages about her on their campaign material.