Diane Abbott accuses Keir Starmer of trying to end her parliamentary career

Diane Abbott
Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, was stripped of the Labour whip in April - Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Diane Abbott has accused Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, of trying to end her 36-year parliamentary career, criticising the handling of anti-Semitism allegations against her.

Ms Abbott, one of Labour’s most prominent Left-wing MPs, posted a lengthy social media statement in which she said she “will not get a fair hearing” from Sir Keir’s leadership.

The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington was stripped of the Labour whip in April after writing a letter to the Observer in which she suggested that Jews, Irish people and Travellers do not experience racism “all their lives”.

After a backlash against the remarks, which were described as “anti-Semitic” by Sir Keir, Ms Abbott apologised for any “anguish” caused and said her letter was a draft that had been sent by mistake.

Timeline of controversies
Timeline of controversies

In her statement on Twitter, Ms Abbott said Labour was working to “replace me as the candidate” prior to the next general election and claimed the disciplinary process involving her was “fraudulent”.

“I was told by the chief whip to ‘actively engage’ with an investigation,” she wrote. “But the Labour whips are no longer involved – it is now run entirely out of the Labour Party HQ, which reports to Keir Starmer – and there is no investigation.”

Noting that Labour recently replaced the executive committee of her local party, Ms Abbott continued: “In effect, the Labour apparatus has decapitated the elected leadership of the constituency party to install its own, hand-picked personnel and replace me as the candidate prior to the next election.

“Taken together, the procedural impropriety, Starmer’s pronouncement of my guilt, the four-month delay in the investigation, the repeated refusal to try to reach any accommodation, all point in the direction that the verdict has already been reached.

“The crushing of democracy in my local Labour Party is the latest confirmation. I am the longest-serving black MP. Yet there is a widespread sentiment that as a black woman, and someone on the Left of the Labour Party, that I will not get a fair hearing from this Labour leadership.”

Ms Abbott, who has previously said she had been chosen as the Labour candidate for Hackney North in 2024, would face an uphill battle getting re-elected as an independent, with the north London seat having only ever returned Labour MPs since its creation in 1950.

An attempt to remove her from Parliament would be the latest front in Sir Keir’s crackdown on the hard-Left of the party since succeeding Jeremy Corbyn in 2020.

He suspended Mr Corbyn – who has not regained the whip – in October that year amid a separate anti-Semitism row, which saw the MP for Islington North claim the scale of the problem in the party had been “dramatically overstated” under his leadership.

On Thursday night, Mr Corbyn called the treatment of Ms Abbott, one of his closest allies, “a disgrace”, writing: “The latest stitch-up represents yet another flagrant attack on local democracy.”

A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party rightly expects the highest standards of behaviour from its elected representatives, and has introduced an independent complaints process to investigate cases. We do not give a running commentary on ongoing investigations.”

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