Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo on This Week
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Diane Abbott on 'divide and rule' 2012 tweet comment

A Labour MP has been challenged over her previous "white people like playing divide and rule" comments, during a TV debate over racism.

Diane Abbott said the 2012 tweet was not racist, but it was about the British Empire, and she had not been able to give a full explanation with a 140-character limit on twitter.

In a BBC1 This Week debate with radio presenter Nihal Arthanayake, Andrew Neil said "she was not talking in code" and asked if fellow panellist Michael Portillo could make a similar comment about white people.

In 2012, the MP tweeted: "White people love playing 'divide & rule' We should not play their game."

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