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‘Let me stand,’ Diane Abbott tells Sir Keir

Corbyn to carry the radical spirit of his tenure as Labour leader by fighting for his Islington North seat as an independent

BRITAIN’S first black female MP told Sir Keir Starmer today to give her the right to stand for Labour in the general election.

Diane Abbott told the Morning Star that she wanted to continue as Labour MP for the Hackney North constituency she has represented since 1987.

Ms Abbott said: “I apologised promptly for the letter to the Observer which caused all the fuss. But 13 months later Keir Starmer still cannot come to a decision about whether he thinks that I should be allowed to rejoin the Parliamentary Labour Party.

“Yet it only took him weeks to decide that life-long Tory Natalie Elphicke could join. I was reselected unanimously over a year ago and my constituents want to know what is happening.”

Ms Abbott has been suspended from Labour’s parliamentary party for over a year while the party purportedly investigates a short newspaper letter deemed offensive and for which she immediately apologised.

Her treatment contrasts with the indulgence shown to right-wing, and male and white, MPs who have done the same or worse and got off with a slap on the wrists.

The national executive of the party will now have to determine whether or not she can stand. Campaign group Momentum tpday called for her to be allowed to represent Labour in the July 4 poll.

A spokesman said today: “Keir Starmer rightly called Diane Abbott a ‘trailblazer’ as Britain’s first black woman MP. He should now reinstate her as a Labour MP and let her run as the Labour candidate in Hackney North & Stoke Newington, as local members voted.

“Anything less is an insult to Diane, her constituents and all those who have been inspired by her example.”

Ms Abbott had been unanimously readopted as candidate by the local party prior to her protracted suspension.

If she is blocked from standing it will likely cost Labour votes in the black community in particular. The influential Voice newspaper commented that “if Starmer wants black voter support he should reinstate” Ms Abbott. 

Jeremy Corbyn, another victim of Starmer’s authoritarianism, will announce on Friday that he is to fight his Islington North constituency as an independent candidate, carrying forward the radical spirit of his period as Labour leader.

His announcement in the seat he has represented for 41 years follows being banned from standing for Labour and the local party is now choosing a Labour candidate from a nationally imposed shortlist of two — local councillor Praful Nagrund and London Assembly member Sem Moema.

Local Corbyn supporters had been encouraging sympathetic party members  to support ex-Trotskyist and now uber-Starmerite author Paul Mason on the grounds he would be easiest for the former party leader to beat, but the national executive declined to shortlist him.

The Communist Party, which plans to stand candidates across Britain and support left and progressive candidates elsewhere, said today that the election comes as “working people face a deep and systemic crisis — and yet we’re told the only choice is between the virtually indistinguishable Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer.”

A party statement said: “At home, real wages are stagnant. Living standards are declining. Poverty is spiralling. Public services are crumbling. Our democratic freedoms are under attack — all of this while profits increase and the rich get richer.

“Around the world, war is spreading. Israel’s genocide against the heroic Palestinian people continues. The war in Ukraine grinds on. The main Western imperialist powers are escalating their new cold war against China. Britain’s ruling class is to the fore and profits from it all.   

“But there is an alternative to Sunak and Starmer. There is an alternative to capitalism. We can build the fight for a new society free from poverty, exploitation and war — a socialist society. “

The party’s candidates will aim to “build a mass movement against austerity and war, for public ownership, working-class power and socialism,” the statement added. 

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