'No reason' why Diane Abbott can't stand in general election as Labour MP, says Angela Rayner

30 May 2024, 14:05 | Updated: 30 May 2024, 14:33

Angela Rayner has defended Diane Abbott amid an ongoing row over the MP's future
Angela Rayner has defended Diane Abbott amid an ongoing row over the MP's future. Picture: Getty

By Flaminia Luck

Angela Rayner has said there is "no reason" Diane Abbott can't stand in the general election as a Labour MP - amid a row over the Hackney North MP's future.

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The Deputy Labour Leader commended the career and legacy of Ms Abbott - who was the UK's first Black female MP - describing her as "iconic" and a "trailblazer".

She told ITV she should be able to "go on her own terms" or "stand if she wants to" on Thursday afternoon.

However, Ms Rayner denied the party's leadership is acting in a "factional way".

Ms Rayner added she was not happy about the briefings describing them as "disgraceful".

It comes following an ongoing row over Ms Abbott's position in the Labour Party as the country heads to the polls next month.

Read more: ‘I will not be intimidated’: Diane Abbott vows to fight General Election despite being ‘banned’ from standing for Labour

'Diane Abbott has always been standing up and has always been put down.'

It emerged on Tuesday evening that Ms Abbott had the Labour whip restored following an investigation into comments she made about the Jewish community.

But Labour has reportedly banned Ms Abbott from standing under the party banner, meaning she will likely fight for re-election as an independent.

Sir Keir Starmer has insisted he is not trying to block left-wingers from standing for Labour after Ms Abbott claimed they are facing an "appalling" cull.

Read more: Iain Dale to step down from LBC to put himself forward to be selected as a candidate for MP in the General Election

Keir Starmer alongside Diane Abbott at the Labour Party Conference in 2017
Keir Starmer alongside Diane Abbott at the Labour Party Conference in 2017. Picture: Getty

Ms Abbott has insisted she will stand as an MP following reports she has been "barred" by the Labour leadership from standing under the party's banner, saying she "not be intimidated".

"For as long as it is possible, I will be the member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington," Ms Abbott said on the steps of Hackney Town hall on Wednesday evening.

She insisted evening that she was "shocked" to learned she would be banned.

Read more: ‘Cutting NHS waiting lists is our priority’: Starmer unveils ‘first steps’ for Government if elected into Downing Street

Former Labour leader and independent MP Jeremy Corbyn has told LBC's Fraser Knight he will support Ms Abbott as she plans to stand to be the MP for Hackney North. "I've spent my life fighting for justice, peace and socialism - sometimes you have to fight back against the people who attack us. It's not me they are attacking, or Diane they are attacking, it's the people here," Mr Corbyn told LBC.

In a message to Starmer, he said: "The Labour party ought to be a broad church and any movement that tends to represent working class has to be a broad inclusive church.

"You don't achieve things by driving people out  - only by bringing people in," he added.

Caller gets emotional talking about supporting Labour

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