Ed Balls Slams Labour For Welcoming Natalie Elphicke – And Not Diane Abbott

“How come Natalie Elphicke is an acceptable face for Labour....and Diane Abbott is not?"
Ed Balls called Labour out for welcoming Natalie Elphicke but keep Diane Abbott's suspension in place
Ed Balls called Labour out for welcoming Natalie Elphicke but keep Diane Abbott's suspension in place
Good Morning Britain/Getty

Ed Balls called out Labour for welcoming an ex-Tory MP to its ranks yesterday while parliamentary veteran Diane Abbott still sits as an independent.

Natalie Elphicke, known for sitting on the right of the Conservatives, stunned Westminster when she defected to Keir Starmer’s party yesterday.

Although she has regularly slammed Labour’s own immigration policies, she accused Rishi Sunak of “failing to keep our borders safe” in her defection letter.

Meanwhile, Abbott is still sitting as an independent MP, having lost the whip in April 2023 over a controversial letter to The Observer.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, co-presenter Balls – and former Labour shadow chancellor – questioned the party’s approach during an interview with Labour frontbencher Anneliese Dodds.

He said: “Diane Abbott, the longest-serving Black member of parliament – who is a woman – in our country’s history, is currently not a Labour MP in the House of Commons, because you are keeping her out of the party.

“How come Natalie Elphicke is an acceptable face for Labour in the House of Commons and Diane Abbott is not an unacceptable face?”

Dodds said Elphicke “rightly apologised” for her comments about footballer Marcus Rashford.

The then-Tory MP previously suggested he should stop “playing politics” – alluding to his successful campaign to get free school meals – after he missed a penalty at the Euro 2020 final.

However, Elphicke is also known for writing articles with headlines such as, “Don’t trust Labour on immigration, they really want open borders,” and for claiming would-be migrants deliberately damage their fingers to avoid identification.

The new Labour MP also made headlines after defending her now ex-husband, former MP Charlie Elphicke, who was convicted as a sex offender in 2020.

Balls pointed out in his interview that Abbott said sorry for her mistake, too, but remains suspended more than a year later.

Abbott’s letter suggested Jewish, Irish and Traveller communities had never been “subject to racism”.

She later apologised “unreservedly” and withdrew her remarks.

Referring to Elphicke’s defence of her ex-husband, Dodds replied: “There was a parliamentary process, quite rightly, and the sexual assault conviction was a serious one.

“And there is no place for sexual assault in parliament or anywhere else, and that was clear ultimately in that parliamentary process which was then applied to Natalie Elphicke.

“When it comes to Diane Abbott, obviously Diane was a trailblazer for the Labour Party, an incredibly important figure – there is an independent complaints process which applies to complaints in the Labour Party.”

“It has been going on for a year,” Balls noted.

Dodss just said it was “critical” that that report is “robust”.

“So Natalie Elphicke has been brought in after two weeks, having said critical things,” Balls said. “And Diane Abbott is still in an independent complaints process.

“People will say it’s one rule for one person and a different rule for another.”

Dodds just said the Labour Party has reformed its complaints system due to concerns about antisemitism within the party.


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