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

30 May 2024, 00:22 | Updated: 30 May 2024, 05:06

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

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Diane 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.

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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.

"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.

"They haven't personally communicated with me personally," Ms Abbott added.

But the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer insisted "this is not true" and that "no decision has been made".

Following a report in The Times, Ms Abbott claimed that she had been "banned" from standing as a Labour candidate in July's General Election.

Ms Abbott said this morning: "Although the whip has been restored, I am banned from standing as a Labour candidate."

She went on to confirm her statement writing online this morning: "Naturally I am delighted to have the Labour Whip restored and to be a member of the PLP.

"Thank you to all those who supported me along the way. I will be campaigning for a Labour victory. But I am very dismayed that numerous reports suggest I have been barred as a candidate."

Ex-Labour MP says she 'will probably vote Green' because 'Labour need a shake'

Labour sources told The Telegraph that senior figures in the party are trying to reach a “soft landing” for the MP whereby she can “go with grace”.

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

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

Sir Keir has come under pressure over Diane Abbott's candidacy, after it emerged she had the Labour whip restored on Tuesday following its withdrawal in April last year over comments she made about racism.

The Labour leader continued to refuse to say whether the veteran MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington would be allowed to stand under his party's banner on July 4.

Ex-Labour MP says she 'will probably vote Green' because 'Labour need a shake'

Follow the LBC live General Election blog for all the twists and turns of the campaign train and listen live to LBC on Global Player, our official app

He faced renewed questions after it was reported an internal investigation into Ms Abbott was completed five months ago, but insisted the matter would be resolved by Labour's National Executive Committee "in due course".

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. 

Corbyn's message to Starmer

"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," the former Labour leader said.

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