Diane Abbott
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In 1987 Diane Abbott made history by becoming the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. She has since built a distinguished career as a parliamentarian, broadcaster and commentator.

In the Beginning

Diane was born in London in 1953. She attended the grammar school Harrow County and then went on to Newnham College Cambridge where she obtained a Masters degree in history.

When she left Cambridge University Diane joined Government as a Home Office Civil Servant. She went on to work for the lobby group the National Council for Civil Liberties, then she became a journalist. She worked extensively as a freelancer and she went on to work as a reporter for the breakfast television company TV-AM and Thames Television. And she also worked as a public relations consultant for various public sector clients.

Diane is founder of the London Schools and the Black Child initiative, which aims to raise educational achievement levels amongst Black children. She hosts an annual conference for educators, children and their parents and an annual academic awards ceremony.

In 2008 Diane was awarded the Spectator/Threadneedle Speech of the Year Award and a Human Rights Award from Liberty.
In May 2010 Diane was re-elected in her constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington, and doubled her majority on an increased turn-out. In June 2010, she made the ballot for the Labour leadership contest and took part in the summer long campaign to elect the next Labour leader.

Diane is currently Shadow Minister for Public Health.

In Parliament

Diane has served on a number of parliamentary committees on social and international issues. She was also elected on to the National Executive of the Labour Party. For most of the 1990's she also served on the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons. This is the committee which deals with business and finance matters. As a member of this committee Diane travelled frequently to Washington DC, New York, Frankfurt and other financial centres. She met with senior politicians, bankers and financial regulators internationally and she helped to author a series of official reports on issues such as Britain's entry into the Euro. She went on to serve on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. As a member of that committee she travelled to Kenya, Uganda, China, Hong Kong and many countries in Europe. She took a particular interest in human rights. Most recently she has set up a special parliamentary committee investigating gun crime.

In the Public Eye

Diane is an experienced public speaker and broadcaster. She has spoken at colleges and universities all over the United States including Ivy League universities like Harvard. She also appears regularly on radio and television and until recently, appeared weekly on the BBC1 late night political discussion show, This Week with Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo.

Entries by Diane Abbott

Terrorism and Citizenship

(68) Comments | Posted 12 February 2014 | (07:35)

Ever since 9/11 the debate about terrorism has become a debased currency. The media and most of the political class seem to have completely lost sight of the fact that terrorist suspects are entitled to due process. And the distinction between a suspected terrorist and a convicted terrorist sometimes seems...

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Cuts Show Cameron Is Creating a Victorian 'Two Nations'

(42) Comments | Posted 30 January 2014 | (23:00)

Never has George Osborne's hypocritical catch-line "we are all in this together" sounded more hollow than with the news that 10% of the poorest areas, including my own borough of Hackney, have been hit by cuts that average over 25% of their local authority budget. Meanwhile some of the wealthiest...

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Mark Duggan Inquest Shows We Need Better Relations Between Police and Community

(142) Comments | Posted 9 January 2014 | (14:04)

In the summer of 2011 the death of Mark Duggan was like a blue touch paper that lit the flame of urban insurrection all around the country. It quickly deteriorated into mere 'copy cat' rioting. But the anger about the death of Mark Duggan was never just about the man...

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Thatcher's Gender Framed Her Politics

(87) Comments | Posted 9 April 2013 | (08:27)

Margaret Thatcher soared through the political firmament of the twentieth century like a Roman candle. And one of the things that made her special was her gender. She was Britain's first female prime minister. The fact that she was a woman framed her politics. Yet, paradoxically, Thatcher was no feminist....

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Pornified Britain

(72) Comments | Posted 23 January 2013 | (23:00)

The notion that the British public space has become 'pornified' excites strong emotions. Libertarians, on both the left and right, begin to froth at the mouth and accuse you of suggesting censorship. If you are a woman you are accused of being a prude or having an unreasonable objection to...

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This Tory Abortion Circus Must Not Shift the Spotlight From the Growing Difficulties Facing British Women

(264) Comments | Posted 31 October 2012 | (23:00)

Just as night follows day, one defeated anti-choice campaign has been replaced by a fresh attempt to chip away at British women's right to choose. One and a half years after I first vowed to oppose plans for anti-choice abortion counselling, and one year after the

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We Must Recognise That Real Women's Lives Are at Stake in All of This

(128) Comments | Posted 17 October 2012 | (11:48)

On Tuesday morning Mehdi Hasan was on a prime slot on the Radio 4 Today programme airing his, now well known, anti-abortion views.

It would be easy to dismiss his recent interventions on abortion as controversy for controversy's sake. But real women's lives are at stake in...

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The Poor In Venezuela Saw Chavez's Victory As Their Own

(70) Comments | Posted 8 October 2012 | (11:09)

A few hours ago I was in the Venezuelan election centre in Caracas witnessing the room erupt into relief and delight at the official announcement that Hugo Chavez had won a fourth term. And the noise in the room was nothing compared to the pandemonium we could hear outside. Fireworks...

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Hunt's Abortion Statements Are About Politics, Not Medicine

(40) Comments | Posted 6 October 2012 | (12:30)

It is worth contemplating why senior Tory politicians are queuing up to attack women's reproductive rights. First there was equalities minister Maria Miller, then Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, now Home Secretary Theresa May.

Their opinions on the time limits for abortions obviously have no basis in medical...

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Stephen Lawrence Verdict: This Week's Convictions Are Not the End of Anything

(32) Comments | Posted 4 January 2012 | (23:00)

Yesterday two of the men who killed the young Stephen Lawrence finally got jail time. The sentences that they serve for their savage racist attack will not be as long as the 18 years they spent avoiding justice, but it does bring some sort of closure to Stephen's parents. However,...

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A Whole Generation May be Doomed to a Lifetime on the Fringes of the Job Market

(29) Comments | Posted 16 November 2011 | (22:00)

It seems as if a whole generation of young people is going to pay the price of this government's economic policies.

Yesterday's figures for youth unemployment were truly shocking. At over a million, youth unemployment is the highest that it has ever been.

In Hackney alone, since January...

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The Government Needs to be on British parents' Side in the Battle to Ensure our Children's Health and Well-Being

(0) Comments | Posted 6 October 2011 | (15:00)

A century ago, the biggest threat to children's health in Britain was malnutrition. Poor nutrition still casts a shadow over our children's health today. But nowadays the problem is often not too little food, but too much of the wrong food.

And the nutrition crisis for Britain's children is...

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The UK Riots: We Must Confront the 'Get Rich or Die Trying' Culture

(13) Comments | Posted 15 September 2011 | (00:00)

Hackney is rebuilding. The heart-stopping wall-to-wall coverage may have ceased. And the foreign journalists that beat a path to the borough have gone home. But life in Hackney has continued. The response from the people of Hackney has been an inspiration - streets have been cleared, damage is being repaired,...

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