THE Speaker’s refusal to grant Diane Abbott a question as other MPs debated an allegedly violent comment made about her has been condemned as an example of “institutional racism”.

Top Tory donor Frank Hester, who gave the party £10 million in 2023, said Abbott “should be shot” and that seeing her made him “want to hate all black women”.

Despite the controversy taking up much of the time at Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Abbott was refused the chance to speak, although she repeatedly attempted to catch the Speaker’s eye.

Campaign group Stand Up to Racism said her exclusion was an example of “institutional racism”.

On Twitter/X, the group said: “Absolutely outraged that Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle didn’t take Diane Abbott MP to speak during PMQs as though she is invisible, whilst several MPs talked about her experience.

“A few weeks ago he said he was worried about MPs safety. This is institutional racism.”

Sunak found himself under fire from Keir Starmer and Stephen Flynn – who both urged the PM to return the millions Hester has donated to the Conservative Party.

Others were outraged by Hoyle’s refusal to give Abbott a question.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories break silence on donor's 'racist' comments with call for 'review'

Commentator and National columnist Owen Jones said: “The Speaker has to resign after failing to take a question from Diane Abbott.

“It’s not possible to argue he takes racism seriously. The scandal should be at the forefront of his mind – if so, he just doesn’t care about racism.”

Tweeting during the session, Labour backbencher Stella Creasy said: “Right now Diane Abbott is standing to ask a question in Prime Minister’s Questions. As her safety is debated by others.

“Something very wrong if her voice isn’t heard today …”

Hoyle is already facing calls to go after bending parliamentary rules to Keir Starmer's advantage during the SNP's Gaza ceasefire vote last month.

More than 90 MPs, mostly from the SNP and Conservatives, have signed a motion expressing "no confidence" in the Speaker.  

After PMQs, both Stephen Flynn and Keir Starmer were seen approaching Abbott on the backbenches. 

Abbott confirmed a characterisation of the conversation reported by Jones on Twitter/X, in which the Labour leader was said to have asked her to "let me know if there’s anything I can do”.

She responded by repeatedly asking him to restore the whip, which she lost last year after writing a letter to The Observer saying that Jews and Travellers are not subject to racism "all their lives". 

Abbott has since apologised for the comments and Labour has faced questions in the past over the length of time it has taken to investigate her under the party's complaints procedures. 

Speaking to reporters after PMQs, Starmer's spokesperson said a decision on her status within the Parliamentary Labour Party could be expected before the next General Election. 

A spokesperson for the Speaker said: “During Prime Minister’s Questions, the Speaker must select MPs from either side of the House on an alternating basis for fairness.

"This takes place within a limited time frame, with the chair prioritising embers who are already listed on the order paper.

"This week – as is often the case – there was not enough time to call all members who wanted to ask a question.”