Diane Abbott has come under fire after saying migrants who drowned in Italy “actually got screwed” in a now-deleted tweet.
The independent MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington tweeted: “These migrants have really been screwed. To the bottom of the sea” while he shared news about the disaster in the Mediterranean.
The post was a response to a comment made by Lee Anderson, the vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, who earlier this week said asylum seekers who complain about being transferred to an accommodation barge should “go back to France”.
Brendan Clarke-Smith, a former Tory minister, tweeted: “To think Sir Keir Starmer campaigned for this person to be our Home Secretary.
“We all know Labor cannot be taken seriously on immigration or national security, but it is a shame that they also seek to exploit tragedies like this to further their distorted agenda.”
A Conservative spokesman said Ms Abbott’s tweet was “wrong”. “The fact that she removed it suggests that she agrees with us,” they added.
Forty-one of the 45 migrants are believed to have died after a boat capsized off Tunisia in heavy seas. The metal boat left Sfax, Tunisia, on August 3, but a huge wave capsized the boat hours into the trip.
The survivors were transferred to the island of Lampedusa on Wednesday after a rescue operation.
‘A new low’
Ms Abbott’s tweet was not the first criticism she has leveled at Vice President Tory for his comments. Ms Abbott, who once served as shadow Home Secretary, had previously described Mr Anderson’s comments as “a new low even for Tories”.
But ministers have rallied around Ashfield MP Mr Anderson, with Justice Secretary Alex Chalk suggesting their “outrage” was “well placed” after only 15 migrants had initially entered the accommodation barge. by Bibby Stockholm.
The transfer of migrants to the ship has been mired in difficulties and delays amid security concerns, local opposition and legal challenges.
Ms Abbott suspended Labor’s whip in April for suggesting that Jews, Irish and travelers are not subject to racism “all their lives” in a letter to the Observer newspaper.