Diane Abbott grilled on her faith in Sir Keir Starmer's Labour leadership

3 July 2021, 13:56 | Updated: 3 July 2021, 13:59

Diane Abbott quizzed on Starmer's ability to lead Labour

By Seán Hickey

The Labour MP was accused of not seeming confident in the Labour leader's ability to have the party succeed.

Diane Abbott MP joined Matt Frei to reflect on Labour's narrow by-election win in the stronghold of Batley and Spen. Matt cornered the Labour politician on whether she thought Sir Keir Starmer has solidified his position as leader thanks to the result.

"I don't know about what leadership challenge you're talking about. I believe the party's won a crucial by-election, we're going to come together and we're going to move forward," Ms Abbott insisted.

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Matt said that he didn't sense an "undiluted enthusiasm for Sir Keir Starmer" in Ms Abbott's reply.

"I would never do to Sir Keir Starmer, all of those sort of underhanded--" she was interrupted by Matt's suggestion: "What Keir Starmer done to Jeremy Corbyn?"

"That's what I was going to say. I would never do that. No leader of a party deserves that."

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Matt was baffled: "You're calling Keir Starmer a bit of a backstabber against your friend and former party leader."

Ms Abbott refuted the suggestion, telling Matt that "a lot of people that were supporting [Starmer] undoubtedly stabbed Jeremy – not in the back – in the front."

Matt pushed the Labour MP, asking, amid tension in the party ranks "when is Labour going to stop being at war with itself?"

"When are you going to stop trying to wind us up to be at war with ourselves?" Ms Abbott countered.

"We had a great result, it was an important by-election, we all want to come together and unite and move forward."