HALFON-robertRobert Halfon is Conservative MP for Harlow. Follow him on Twitter.

So Diane Abbott said some stupid things in which most reasonable people will disagree with.  But, we Conservatives should be hesitant about jumping on the "PC" bandwagon, tearing our clothes, wailing and gnashing our teeth.

In doing so we walk into the elephant trap, set for us by the left, in which any misplaced remark or statement leads to a vicious bout of condemnation, followed by calls for the Guillotine – a sort of reverse McCarthyism if you like.  Forget Abbott and think Clarkson for a moment, and you will see what I mean.

Left-wing witch-hunts (they are invariably left-wing) are not particularly savoury, and have become the norm in recent years.  The hunts have claimed numerous scalps -and are a sign of the guillotine culture we now live in.  If we indulge in the same, we give licence to our opponents and agree that the methods they use are the accepted ones.  It is no good claiming, imagine if a Tory had said it – and what would happen as a result.  My answer is so what:  Tories should be better than this.

Conservatives should remember Voltaire, and vigorously argue the case against Abbott et al.  We believe in free speech after all.  Let the public judge – they will hoist Diane Abbott on her own petard – much better than any Westminster show-trial.