Labour investigation into Diane Abbott 'completed 5 months ago'

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A probe into comments that Diane Abbott made about racism affecting Jewish and Traveller communities was completed five months ago, according to BBC Newsnight.

Labour suspended Britain's first Black woman MP, who represents the Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency in London, in April 2023 while an investigation took place.

The programme found Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) had written to Ms Abbott in December 2023, to say it had concluded an inquiry into her comments.

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It issued her with a 'formal warning' for 'engaging in conduct that was, in the opinion of the NEC, prejudicial and grossly detrimental to the Labour Party'.

Ms Abbott was expected to take part in an online e-learning module, which she completed in February something that Labour's chief whip allegedly acknowledged by email. Campaign group Momentum has said the Labour whip 'should already have been restored'.

Ms Abbott was an independent MP when Parliament was prorogued on Friday, May 24, ahead of the General Election on Thursday, July 4.

A Momentum spokesperson said: "This is outrageous news which confirms that the (Keir) Starmer leadership is trying to force Britain's first Black woman MP out of Parliament. For months, we have been told by Keir Starmer that the process is independent and it's nothing to do with him.

"Today's revelation confirms this is another brazen lie from Keir Starmer the investigation was concluded months ago, Diane remains a Labour member and the whip should already have been restored as a result.

"Starmer's conduct has already been insulting and demeaning to a woman he rightly called a 'trailblazer' the first step to making amends is to restore the whip and let Diane run as the Labour candidate, as local members wish."

Speaking last Friday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News: "The final decisions on candidates is coming up in a few days' time, I think June 4, it may be a little earlier, a little later, I can't quite remember.

"But within a relatively short period of time, the final list of candidates will be decided, and that will be a matter for the Labour Party's National Executive Committee."

Ms Abbott, who has been an MP since 1987, responded in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the process 'has EVERYTHING to do with' Sir Keir.

The veteran MP was suspended after she responded to an Observer article headlined: "Racism in Britain is not a Black and white issue. It's far more complicated."

She wrote in a letter to the title: "It is true that many types of white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice. But they are not all their lives subject to racism. In pre-civil rights America, Irish people, Jewish people and Travellers were not required to sit at the back of the bus."

Ms Abbott later said she wished to 'wholly and unreservedly withdraw my remarks and disassociate myself from them'.

Labour has been approached for comment.