‘I intend to run and to win as Labour’s candidate’, says Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott is free to stand for Labour
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Diane Abbott has said she intends to “run and win” as a Labour candidate at the General Election. Her announcement came in response to reports suggesting she was still weighing up options, and was considering accepting a peerage.

On Sunday a story in the Sunday Times suggested that a number of former Labour MPs including Ms Abbott had been offered peerages to quit and open up seats for allies of party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Abbott wrote on X: “This is factually incorrect. I have never been offered a seat in the Lords, and would not accept one if offered.

“I am the adopted Labour candidate for Hackney North & Stoke Newington. I intend to run and to win as Labour’s candidate.”

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Keir Starmer finally gave the veteran left-winger the green light to stand for Labour in July after months of uncertainty over her future.

Ms Abbott was suspended from Labour last year after she suggested Jewish, Irish and Traveller people experience prejudice, but not racism, sparking a long-running process which saw her sit as an Independent MP.

She had the Labour whip restored this week, but it was briefed out that she might be “barred” from running for the party in the General Election.

For days, Sir Keir declined to say whether Ms Abbott would be defending her Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat on July 4, as he faced claims of a “purge” of left-wing candidates.

Dianne Abbott speaking at the rally in London -Credit:Humphrey Nemar
Dianne Abbott speaking at the rally in London -Credit:Humphrey Nemar

On Friday he said she was “free” to run after the row over her candidacy overshadowed much of the story of Labour’s campaign last week.

Supporters of Ms Abbott accused the Labour leadership of “culling the left” in the party, citing the choice not to allow Academic Faiza Shaheen or former MPs Lloyd Russell-Moyle to stand for election.

Ms Shaheen was blocked from running in the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency as a Labour candidate, allegedly in relation to past posts on social media website X.

Mr Russell-Moyle, the previous MP for Brighton Kemptown, was told he cannot stand after being suspended by Labour over what he called a “vexatious and politically-motivated complaint” against him.

Men who are seen to be more politically aligned with Sir Keir have been announced as parliamentary candidates, including Luke Akehurst, a member of the executive committee, Torsten Bell, chief of the Resolution Foundation think tank, and Alex Barros-Curtis, a legal aide who lead Sir Keir’s run to be Labour leader.

Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti, a close friend of Ms Abbott, said she had advised her to “take some time to consider what she wants to do”.

Baroness Chakrabarti told BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “It’s been pretty appalling, trying to bully someone of her stature.”

She added: “It’s not good for Keir Starmer’s leadership, it’s not good for the Labour Party, and it hasn’t been very nice for Diane and for common decency.”