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DIANE ABBOTT has called on Sir Keir Starmer to prove his commitment to fighting anti-black racism amid growing anger over Labour’s “fraudulent” investigation into the left-wing MP.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, TUC president Matt Wrack and scores of socialist MPs and activists have joined the campaign to restore Britain’s first black female MP’s Labour whip.
Speaking to the Morning Star, Ms Abbott said: “I appreciate the support. But this is all about much more than me.
“The issues are Labour Party democracy and the leadership’s commitment to recognising and fighting anti-black racism.”
Labour faces increasing pressure to conclude its investigation into the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP’s comments about racism after she branded the process “fraudulent” in a statement earlier this week.
She was suspended as a Labour MP in April after suggesting Jewish, Irish and Traveller people were not subject to racism “all their lives” in a letter to the Observer.
Although Ms Abbott, a lifelong anti-racism campaigner, promptly apologised and withdrew her remarks, the party continues its “independent” complaints process.
Labour MPs and union leaders have joined the huge outpouring of support for her after she said she no longer had faith she would get a fair hearing from the Labour leader.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday she said the internal Labour Party disciplinary against her is “fraudulent” as it was no longer run by Labour whips but the party HQ, which reports to Sir Keir, who publicly criticised her comments in April.
Sharing her statement, TUC president and Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack said: “It is well known that Diane faces more racist abuse than any other MP.
“The Labour Party has still not addressed the racism and Islamophobia exposed in the Forde Report.
“They need to address this accordingly. Resolve the investigation. Restore the whip. No stitch-up. Solidarity Diane.”
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP said: “The treatment of Diane Abbott — Britain’s first female black MP — is a disgrace.
“The latest stitch-up represents yet another flagrant attack on local democracy.
“A lifelong anti-racist campaigner, Diane deserves so much better. So do party members being treated with contempt.”
Several left-wing Labour MPs including former shadow chancellor John McDonnell have also spoken publicly in support of Ms Abbott, with Aslef and CWU general secretaries Mick Whelan and Dave Ward telling the Morning Star that they also backed the campaign to restore her whip.
Mr McDonnell said: “For months now I have been urging Keir Starmer to restore the Labour whip to Diane Abbott.
“Other MPs in the same situation have had the whip restored after apologising. It is unacceptable that Diane is treated so drastically differently from others.
“This is no way to treat the first black woman in Parliament.”
MPs Clive Lewis, Kim Johnson, Kate Osamor, Dawn Butler, Marsha De Cordova, Bell Rebeiro-Addy, Apsana Begum, Nadia Whittome, Zarah Sultana and Claudia Webbe, all from ethnic minorities, have backed the campaign.
MPs Richard Burgon, Mick Whitley, Beth Winter, Lloyd Russell-Moyle and MSP Mercedes Villalba have done so too, as well as Labour NEC member Mish Rahman.
Alex Nunns suggested Labour’s probe into Ms Abbott was a purge of the left, listing MP allies of Starmer who had their whip restored after being accused of racism.
Momentum has called the party’s treatment of her “nothing short of disgraceful” and a “new low.”
Labour previously said it would not comment on ongoing cases but holds its elected representatives to the highest standards.
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