The Prime Minister spoke about the abuse the Shadow Home Secretary has had to endure, as she spoke about a “change for the worse” in politics.
In the speech in Birmingham yesterday, Mrs May said: “The first black woman ever to be elected to the House of Commons receives more racist and misogynist messages today than when she first stood over 30 years ago.
“You do not have to agree with a word Diane Abbott says to believe passionately in her right to say it, free from threats and abuse.
“Some people have lost sight of the fact that political differences are not everything.
“I have served in local and national government, in office and in opposition.
“I know that no party has a monopoly on good ideas.”
Mrs May made it clear that MPs should be able to voice their opinions without fear of abuse.
She said photos of a far-left extremist yelling abuse at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children were “sickening”.
Despite Theresa May’s words defending the veteran Labour MP, Shadow Home Secretary Ms Abbott tweeted: “Some nice words from Tory leaders like Theresa May and Sajid Javid.
“Makes you wonder who was responsible for the Tory Party’s relentless personal attacks in the general election campaign 2017.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid also spoke highly of Ms Abbott at the Conservative Party Conference saying in his speech: “We might disagree with the Shadow Home Secretary on almost all her policies.
“But it takes guts and determination to become the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons. And we should pay tribute to that.”
Before she delivered her speech, Mrs May walked out onto the stage to Abba’s Dancing Queen, mocking herself after she was lampooned for awkwardly dancing during a trip to South Africa and Kenya.
Ms Abbott tweeted: “So Theresa May comes on stage for her big conference speech…dancing. Whoever thought that was a good idea should be sacked. I am looking at you Robbie Gibb.”
Amnesty International revealed Ms Abbott received more online abuse in the first half of 2017 then all of the female MPs from the Conservative and Scottish National Parties combined.
The charity analysed tweets sent to female politicians in the run up to the 2017 general election and found that over 25,000 abusive messages were sent, a third of which were sent to Ms Abbott.
Speaking to Amnesty, Ms Abbott said: “It’s the volume of it which makes it so debilitating, so corrosive, and so upsetting. It’s the sheer volume. And the sheer level of hatred that people are showing.”