Diane Abbott Should Be Allowed To Stand As Labour Candidate, Says Angela Rayner

Labour deputy leader intervenes in row over whether veteran MP will be blocked by party.
Diane Abbott
Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott should be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate at the general election, Angela Rayner has said.

“I don’t see any reason why Diane Abbott can’t stand as a Labour MP going forward,” Labour’s deputy leader told ITV News on Thursday.

Rayner’s intervention comes amid a growing row within the party over whether Abbott will be banned from seeking re-election as a Labour candidate.

Abbott was suspended by the party last year for suggesting that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people were not subject to racism “all their lives”.

She apologised, withdrew the comments and was eventually given the Labour whip back this week.

But it has been suggested Labour will still block her from standing for re-election in her Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat.

Several other candidates on the left of the party were also blocked last night, while Starmer loyalists were given seats to fight.

Labour’s leader has been accused of a dramatic “cull of left-wingers”.

At a rally outside Hackney Town Hall last night, Abbott said she intended to remain the MP for the seat she has held since 1987 for “as long as is possible”.

The 70-year-old, who was Britain’s first black female MP and served as shadow home secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, said she had been “shocked” to learn she might be banned.

“It is as if you are not allowed to be a Labour MP unless you are prepared to repeat everything the leader says,” she said.

“You have always stood with me, in good times and bad, and I will always stand with you. I am not going to allow myself to be intimated or frightened by forces beyond all of our control.

“I am going to be your MP as long as I am allowed to.” She went on: “I have to keep faith with my principles. I have to keep faith with supporting and speaking up for equalities, poor people, for the community here in Hackney.

“So I promise you that as long as is possible I will be the member of parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.”

Keir Starmer yesterday said “no decision” had yet been taken over whether Abbott would be allowed to be a Labour candidate.


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