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Diane Abbott insists she will not be a Labour candidate until she is endorsed at the Party’s national convention next week – after Kier Starmer bowed to pressure from the left to say veteran MP is ‘free’ to stand

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Diane Abbott has insisted that she will not run as a Labour candidate until she is endorsed at the Party’s national convention next week.  

Following days of indecision and growing criticism, Sir Keir backed down to the left of his party yesterday and said Ms Abbott was ‘free’ to stand.

However, Ms Abbott has refused to give anything away until Tuesday when Labour‘s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) will decide whether or not to endorse her.   

LBC reported that she said: ‘My local party selected me as their candidate in 2022 but I will not be the official candidate until I’m endorsed by the Labour National Executive at its meeting on Tuesday. So I am not saying anything until then.’ 

Diane Abbott has insisted that she will not run as a Labour candidate until she is endorsed at the Party's national convention next week

Diane Abbott has insisted that she will not run as a Labour candidate until she is endorsed at the Party’s national convention next week 

Following days of indecision and growing criticism, Sir Keir backed down to the left of his party yesterday and said Ms Abbott was 'free' to stand.. Pictured: Supporters of Diane Abbott outside Hackney Town Hall

Following days of indecision and growing criticism, Sir Keir backed down to the left of his party yesterday and said Ms Abbott was ‘free’ to stand.. Pictured: Supporters of Diane Abbott outside Hackney Town Hall

The Labour leader’s first full week on the campaign trail was overshadowed by the embarrassing row over whether Britain’s first black female MP would be allowed to stand for the party.

Ms Abbott was suspended from Labour’s parliamentary party for more than a year, amid an investigation into her comments about Jewish people in a letter to the Observer newspaper in April last year. However, it has emerged that the race row probe ended months ago.

Earlier this week she even threatened to quit and join ally Jeremy Corbyn in running against Labour amid claims she was being prevented from running in a ‘disturbing’ purge of his former allies. 

In front of around 200 supporters at a rally outside Hackney Town Hall on Wednesday, Ms Abbott vowed to stay on as an MP ‘by any means possible’ and accused the Labour party of wanting to ‘exclude’ her from Parliament.

On top of this Kier was defied by some of his key shadow cabinet members including his deputy Ms Rayner who said was no good reason Ms Abbott couldn’t run.

Close allies Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn have accused Sir Keir of trying to purge the Left of the party

Close allies Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn have accused Sir Keir of trying to purge the Left of the party

Yesterday afternoon he finally took the decision to allow her to stand for Labour, telling reporters: 'The whip has obviously been restored to her now and she is free to go forward as a Labour candidate'

Yesterday afternoon he finally took the decision to allow her to stand for Labour, telling reporters: ‘The whip has obviously been restored to her now and she is free to go forward as a Labour candidate’ 

And Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting who admitted that he was ‘not particularly comfortable’ with the way Ms Abbott has been treated.

Yesterday afternoon he finally took the decision to allow her to stand for Labour, telling reporters: ‘The whip has obviously been restored to her now and she is free to go forward as a Labour candidate.’

Praising her as a ‘trailblazer’, he said: ‘Diane Abbott was elected in 1987, the first black woman MP. She has carved a path for other people to come into politics and public life.’ 

However, a member of the NEC claimed Sir Keir had ‘lied’ about not being in charge of the decision to allow Ms Abbott to stand. 

A spokesman for Momentum, a campaign group set up to back Jeremy Corbyn, mocked Sir Keir, saying: ‘You come at the queen, you better not miss. Diane Abbott has been bullied & abused her whole career. Starmer tried to force her out. She held firm – and won. This is a huge victory.’

A Conservative Party spokesman said: ‘Angela Rayner is pushing Keir Starmer around. Under pressure, he’s showing he’s a weak leader who’s losing control of the Labour Party.’

Mish Rahman told Times Radio: ‘For months and months, Keir Starmer, it seems now untruthfully, has claimed that it was an independent process and he wasn’t involved.

‘Then he said it was down to the NEC. And that has now been revealed to be a lie, because he’s now himself decided, as he said today, that she will be a candidate. She’s free to go ahead as a candidate. And it’s not the NEC who’s done that. He’s had the power all along.’

He added that the committee will approve a list of candidates drawn up by Sir Keir, adding that he controls a majority of the committee so therefore ‘the NEC will deliver the will of Keir Starmer’.



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