Exclusive: Labour Has No Plans To End Diane Abbott's Suspension From The Party

Calls for the whip to be re-instated have increased after a Tory donor allegedly said she made him “want to hate all black women”.
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Labour has no plans to end Diane Abbott’s suspension despite calls for her to be re-admitted in the wake of the Tory donor race row, HuffPost UK has learned.

The Hackney MP lost the party whip almost a year ago after she suggested in a letter to The Observer that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people have never been “subject to racism”.

She later apologised “unreservedly” for any “anguish” and said she withdrew the comments.

A Labour spokesperson said at the time that her remarks were “deeply offensive and wrong”.

Abbott, the first black woman to be elected to parliament in 1987, has sat as an independent MP ever since.

It is understood an investigation by the Labour chief whip into her conduct is still ongoing and that there is no imminent prospect of her being given the whip back.

Calls for her to be re-instated have increased in recent days after The Guardian reported that Frank Hester, the Tories’ biggest donor, said she made him “want to hate all black women” and “should be shot”.

Abbott said the comments were “frightening” and called on Keir Starmer to give her “public support”.

The Labour leader said: “The comments about Diane Abbott are just abhorrent. Diane has been a trailblazer.”

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls yesterday called on Starmer to bring Abbott back into the Labour fold, saying she should be “supported and defended” by the party hierarchy.

He said: “She was suspended from the PLP [parliamentary Labour party] a year ago for saying something she probably shouldn’t have said and she apologised for it.

“The fact that a year on, she’s still outside the PLP, my personal view is she should be brought back following that apology and she should be supported and defended rather than left on her own, which is what’s happening at the moment.”

John McDonnell, another former shadow chancellor, said: “Members on the left, right and centre of the Labour Party are calling for the whip to be restored to Diane Abbott.

“She made a mistake. She swiftly and profusely apologised. She should be treated in the same way as others who have gone through this and have the whip back.”


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