Left-wing Labour MPs 'offered peerages to stop them from standing again' amid Abbott row

1 June 2024, 23:41 | Updated: 2 June 2024, 08:54

Diane Abbott is "free" to stand as a Labour candidate in the General Election, said Sir Keir Starmer
Diane Abbott is "free" to stand as a Labour candidate in the General Election, said Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Left-wing Labour MPs have been offered peerages to stop them from seeking re-election, reports claim.

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Several left-wing MPs have claimed that since the July 4 poll was announced, they have been told they would be raised to the House of Lords if they pass up their seats to allied of Sir Keir, according to The Sunday Times.

However, Labour has since denied the claim.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told Sky News: “No party can do that.

"It's not the way the system works. There's a whole process with the independent committee that will vet nominations. There have to be processes in terms of the numbers of nominations designated by the prime minister and so on."

It comes after Sir Keir was accused of orchestrating a left-wing purge of his party when reports emerged that Diane Abbott, the first-ever black woman elected to Parliament, had been barred from standing.

Read More: ‘Country first, party second’: Sir Keir Starmer puts security front and centre in first major campaign speech

After days of speculation about whether Ms Abbott would be able to contest the Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat, Sir Keir confirmed on Friday that she is "free" to stand as a Labour candidate in the General Election on July 4.

The Labour leader told reporters: "The whip has obviously been restored to her now and she is free to go forward as a Labour candidate."

On Friday, Sir Keir praised the Labour veteran as a "trailblazer", saying: "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."

(left-right) Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner, at the launch event for
Labour MPs talking to the Sunday Times claim that they are being offered seats in the House of Lords to allow allies of leader Sir Keir Starmer to take their place. Picture: Alamy
London / UK. 29 May 2024.  Diane Abbott gives a speech to local Hackney North residents, saying that she wants to be their candidate.  Aubrey Fagon/ Alamy live News
After days of speculation about whether Ms Abbott would be able to contest the Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat, Sir Keir confirmed on Friday that she is "free" to stand as a Labour candidate in the General Election on July 4. Picture: Alamy

He had previously refused to say whether Ms Abbot would be defending her Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat when the country goes to the polls on 4th July as he faced claims of a "purge" of left-wing candidates.

In response to the news, Ms Abbott said her local party selected her as their candidate in 2022.

She added: "But I will not be the official candidate until I am endorsed by the Labour National Executive at its meeting on Tuesday. So I am not saying anything until then".

Speaking at the launch of the Conservative Party campaign bus on Saturday, Tory leader Rishi Sunak hit out at Labour for its back-and-forth on the subject.

Mr Sunak said: "Just see what's happened over this Diane Abbott situation. And it confirms what we know about him: it's that he doesn't stick by anything he says, just constantly changes his mind.

"And it's clear that Angela Rayner is in charge of the Labour Party and not him."

Meanwhile, when asked on the subject at the launch of Labour's 'battle buses', Sir Keir refused to be pressed on it, as he said: "I dealt with that issue yesterday.

"Today is about taking our argument to the country and getting people back to work."

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