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Abbott pulls out of election debate due to illness after string of bungled interviews

Diane Abbott has denied that party leaders are taking steps to keep her off air. Credit: PA

Diane Abbott has pulled out of a broadcast election debate role at the eleventh hour, it has been announced.

The Shadow Home Secretary said illness prevented her from taking part in the BBC Women's Hour interview on Tuesday, according to the broadcaster.

It comes after she faced intense scrutiny for bungling a number of high-profile interviews, with many suggesting she has become a liability for Labour's campaign.

Ms Abbott was mocked after fluffing her maths on the costs of police numbers in an LBC show and hugely underestimating Labour losses in the local elections.

Last night, she had another difficult interview in which she appeared to struggle to answer questions about her home affairs brief.

In it, she said it was time to "revisit" the advice in a report into London security from by former Metropolitan Police Authority chairman Lord Harris last year - but was not able to give any of the specific details.

When asked which part she was endorsing in the Sky interview, she replied "I just think it's about preparedness and resilience."

Ms Abbott denied reports that the Labour leader and shadow chancellor John McDonnell were taking steps to keep her off air for fear for the remainder of the election campaign.

"I am here. I have just come from doing another media interview. I'm going on to do another media interview. There is no truth in the idea I'm not in the media," she said.