Amber Rudd apologises for calling Diane Abbott a ‘coloured woman’ in gaffe live on radio

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has apologised to Diane Abbott after describing her as a "coloured woman" while talking about International Woman's Day.

Ms Abbott, the shadow home secretary, responded to Rudd's gaffe on Twitter, describing the term "coloured" as "outdated" and "offensive", adding how it was a "revealing choice of words".

Ms Rudd, who made the comment in an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine about online abuse suffered by women, said she was "mortified" by her "clumsy" use of language.

Amber Rudd was speaking to Jeremy Vine about International Woman's Day. Credit: Amber Rudd/Twitter

In response to a question about internet trolling, her words were: "It definitely is worse if you’re a woman, and it’s worst of all if you’re a coloured woman.

"I know that Diane Abbott gets a huge amount of abuse and I think that’s something we need to continue to call out."

While Ms Abbott opted for a tame response to the comment, other politicians and social media users who rallied around the Labour MP were not so kind.

Scottish Labour MP Danielle Rowley waded in, writing on Twitter: "She clearly gets her language from the same bygone era as her abhorrent welfare policies."

Rudd apologised on Twitter, writing: "Mortified at my clumsy language and sorry to @HackneyAbbott.

"My point stands: that no-one should suffer abuse because of their race or gender."

The apology by Ms Rudd, seen as a potential future Tory leadership challenger, comes four months after she returned to the Cabinet having resigned last April as home secretary over the Windrush scandal.

Last month, former Labour MP Angela Smith, who quit the party to join the new Independent Group, apologised after appearing to suggest people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds had a "funny tinge".