• Sunday, June 23, 2024

News

Starmer denies Diane Abbott barred from running for Labour

Diane Abbott was suspended by Labour in April last year over comments she made about Irish, Jewish, and Traveller people not facing racism “all their lives.”

Abbott, who ran for party leader in 2010, is a respected figure within Labour and a close ally of ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer denied on Wednesday that his party had barred Diane Abbott, the first black woman to become an MP, from standing as its candidate in the general election.

Abbott, MP for a northeast London constituency since 1987, was suspended by Labour in April last year over comments she made about Irish, Jewish, and Traveller people not facing racism “all their lives.” Despite her immediate apology and retraction of the remarks, made in a letter to the Observer newspaper, the party opened an investigation, the findings of which have not been publicly disclosed.

The BBC reported Wednesday that the 70-year-old lawmaker had said she was readmitted to Labour’s parliamentary ranks this week but was “banned from standing as a Labour candidate” in the July 4 election. When asked about this while campaigning in western England, Starmer stated, “that’s not true.”

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

Abbott posted on social media that she was “very dismayed that numerous reports suggest I have been barred as a candidate,” indicating she had not yet heard directly from Labour.

The issue could become a significant campaign distraction for the party, which is expected to reclaim power for the first time in 14 years in the July contest. It has also highlighted factional splits within the opposition party and drawn criticism from a left-wing base critical of its centrist shift under Starmer.

Abbott, who ran for party leader in 2010, is a respected figure within Labour and a close ally of ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn, who appointed her as the party’s home affairs spokesperson during his tenure from 2015 to 2020.

Corbyn was suspended by Labour in 2020 after he did not fully accept the findings of a rights watchdog’s probe into claims that anti-Semitism became rampant within the party under his leadership. He has been sitting as an independent MP since then and recently announced he would stand in the coming election as an independent candidate.

Abbott has not said whether she intends to do the same if similarly excluded by Labour.

Starmer has insisted that the disciplinary process is independent and that the party’s executive board will decide whether she can stand in July. The board is due to meet next week to finalize the party’s list of candidates.

“This is a matter that will have to be resolved by the National Executive Committee and they’ll do that in due course,” Starmer said on Tuesday.

(AFP)

Related Stories

Videos

Mrunal Thakur on Dhamaka, experience of working with Kartik Aaryan,…
Nushrratt Bharuccha on Chhorii, pressure of comparison with Lapachhapi, upcoming…
Abhimanyu Dassani on Meenakshi Sundareshwar, how his mom Bhagyashree reacted…