Diane Abbott was banned from running for the Labor Party

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Veteran Labor MP Diane Abbott has been banned from standing for the party at the general election despite regaining the whip following an investigation into her comments about Jews.

Abbott, Britain’s first black female MP, confirmed to the Financial Times that Labor will not allow her to run for election on July 4 but has allowed her to rejoin the parliamentary party until then.

“Even though the whip has been restored, I am still banned from running as a Labor Party candidate,” she told the BBC on Wednesday morning.

The move stopped AbbottThe left-wing MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, representing the Labor Party at the election has sparked criticism of party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Momentum, a left-wing pressure group, said the decision to block her position was a “slap in the face” to those who had been inspired by her courage in the face of discrimination treatment and abuse.

“It is a dark day for the Labor Party that Diane Abbott is not welcomed as a Labor MP, but a far-right Conservative like Natalie Elphicke,” it added, referring to the defection of a former Conservative MP to Labor this month.

Labor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Starmer has sought to pull Britain’s main opposition party back to the center of UK politics after his hard-left predecessor Jeremy Corbyn lost the 2019 election.

But some MPs have accused him of ruthlessly eliminating his domestic opponents.

One centrist Labor MP said there was “a lot of anger” at Starmer’s decision and banning Abbott “looks terrible”.

A second centrist Labor MP said the party should have let the veteran MP stand to “eliminate the problem”.

A third Labor MP said Starmer’s inner circle was “cleaning everyone up. Wait to see the stitching for the plum-colored seats.”

Abbott, who holds a majority of more than 33,000, was suspended by Labor last April after suggesting in a letter to the Observer that Jews, Irish and Travelers only experienced more “prejudice” is racist.

Starmer pledged to root out anti-Semitism in the Labor Party after the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the equality watchdog, found in 2020 that during Corbyn’s time as leader, the party had failed to restrain anti-Semitic sentiment in some members.

Abbott apologized and retracted her comments shortly after the Observer’s letter was published, but remains suspended from the Parliamentary Labor Party, meaning she remains an MP but sits with independent status.

An investigation about Abbott was completed by the ruling Labor Party’s national executive committee in December, when she was asked to apologise, according to a Labor figure who declined to be named.

Last week Starmer said Abbott’s case would be resolved by June 4, when the Labor Party finalizes its list of parliamentary candidates. He said Abbott is “going through a process” that “ultimately has not been resolved.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak spoke out on Wednesday: “The Labor Party has told everyone that the investigation into Diane Abbott is ongoing, it appears it ended months ago.”

The Times first reported Tuesday that Abbott would be forced to resign as Labor figures briefed the party as considering who would replace her. Her successor will be agreed next Tuesday at a meeting of the Labor Party’s executive national executive committee.

Abbott said in a post on X that she was “very disappointed” by the reports, which meant she could not quietly resign after 37 years of serving in parliament.

According to people familiar with the matter, she was offered the opportunity to resign “with dignity” before the election in exchange for not running for re-election.

Abbott’s allies said she was upset with how someone briefed The Times about the deal.

“Why did the chief whip write? [to Abbott] restore the whip and then within 10 minutes someone will inform the press of the situation,” an ally said.

First elected to parliament in 1987, Abbott spent most of his career in the backbenches before being appointed by Corbyn as shadow home secretary. She returned to the backseat as Starmer took the wheel.

Abbott has long been the subject of online abuse: study by Amnesty International found that she received 45% of all abusive tweets sent to female MPs on Twitter, currently X, before the 2017 general election.

This year Frank Hester, the Conservative Party’s biggest donor, Sorry after reportedly saying in a private meeting in 2019 that looking at Abbott makes “you just want to hate all Black women.”


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