Derbyshire Labour councillor accuses Rachel Riley of ‘always smearing Corbyn’
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Derbyshire Labour councillor accuses Rachel Riley of ‘always smearing Corbyn’

Cllr Rachel Abbotts said she blocked the Countdown presenter on Twitter due to 'her right wing views'

Cllr Rachel Abbotts, with Ruth George, MP for High Peak

(Credit: Twitter)
Cllr Rachel Abbotts, with Ruth George, MP for High Peak (Credit: Twitter)

A Labour councillor has defended her decision to block Countdown host Rachel Riley on Twitter, claiming she is “always trying to smear Jeremy Corbyn”.

Cllr Rachel Abbotts, from High Peak Borough Council, is believed to be under investigation by the Labour Party.

Cllr Abbotts replied to a tweet on Monday by the account Socialist Sunday, describing Riley as “clearly mentally unstable at the moment.”

“Who else has blocked Rachel Riley? She’s clearly mentally unstable at the moment,” the tweet read.

Abbotts, who won her seat in May, replied: “Me too. I’ve blocked her,” later clarifying that she did not mean to suggest Riley suffered from mental illness.

Riley took to social media to address the remark, writing: “I don’t appreciate endorsements of mental health slurs that I’m ‘mentally unstable.'”

Speaking to Jewish News, Cllr Abbotts said: “I certainly wasn’t saying she was mentally unstable. I know people who have got mental health issues and it’s not something I would ridicule.”

Cllr Abbotts added that she blocked Riley on Twitter “because of her right wing views” and refuted any allegations of antisemitism.

“It’s nothing to do with her religion, like it’s been implied. I have nothing against people of any colour, whatever,” she said.

“She’s always trying to smear Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, and I am not saying there isn’t a problem of antisemitism, right, and I am not condoning it.

“What I am saying is Jeremy Corbyn himself has said he doesn’t condone it and wants to reach out to the Party, but she’s trying to say the opposite.”

Cllr Abbotts shared a petition in April urging Ofcom to stop Riley from “smearing Jeremy Corbyn”.

She also apologised last month for posting a screenshot of an antisemitic article which claimed Jews had declared war on Germany in 1933.

She posted the material in 2016 in a discussion on Facebook with her partner Mark Abbotts who wrote that “people seem to forget that it was the Jews who declared war on Germany.”

After the material resurfaced last month, Abbotts issued a statement clarifying that she had not meant to condone the “obviously wrong and clearly antisemitic claim.”

She added that she was “was deeply and sincerely sorry” for the post, adding that her “only involvement” in the conversation had been to post the screenshot.

“I was trying to show my partner that our acquaintance was correct in what he had said. I absolutely did not agree with the claim and told my partner so verbally,” she said.

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.

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