Diane Abbott Has Not Been Banned From Standing For Labour, Says Keir Starmer

Labour leader says "no decision" has been taken to block the veteran MP.
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Keir Starmer has said it is “not true” that Diane Abbott has been banned from standing as a Labour candidate at the general election.

The veteran MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has been given the Labour whip back after a lengthy suspension.

But it was reported she will still not be allowed to stand for re-election as a Labour candidate in the seat she has represented since 1987.

Abbott said she was “dismayed” at the suggestion she would be blocked.

But speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Starmer said this was not accurate.

“No decision has been taken to bar Diane Abbott,” he said.

“The process that we were going through ended with the restoration of the whip the other day, so she’s a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and no decision has been taken barring her.”

Asked if reports that she had been banned were correct, the Labour leader added: “No, that’s not true”

Abbott had the Labour whip suspended in April 2023 after she said Jewish, Irish and Traveller people were not subject to racism “all their lives”.

The former shadow home secretary, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, apologised and withdrew the comments quickly.

BBC Newsnight revealed on Tuesday that Labour finished its investigation into her conduct five months ago, but publicly claimed that the disciplinary process was still ongoing.

Labour’s National Executive Committee wrote to Abbott in December issuing her with a “formal warning” for “engaging in conduct that was “prejudicial and grossly detrimental” to the party.

At the committee’s request, Abbott then completed an “online e-learning module” in February.

Starmer is under pressure to explain what he has said about the investigation. Last week he said Abbott was still “going through” and independent disciplinary process despite it having already concluded.

Abbott was the first black woman to be elected to parliament when she won her seat, which she currently holds with a majority of more than 33,000.


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