UK Labour’s Abbott says she intends to run in election

By Thomson Reuters Jun 2, 2024 | 12:20 PM

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s first Black woman lawmaker, Diane Abbott, said on Sunday she intended to run for the Labour Party in a July 4 national election, after confusion over her candidacy marked one of the first missteps in the opposition party’s campaign.

After expressing dismay on Wednesday that she might be blocked as an election candidate for her constituency in the capital London, Abbott said on X she was the “adopted Labour candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington”.

“I intend to run and to win as Labour’s candidate,” she said, adding that reports over the weekend that she was offered a seat in the upper house of parliament were not correct.

The days of confusion over whether she would be able to stand again have marred Labour’s election campaign, which has been carefully choreographed to protect and build on its large lead in the opinion polls over the governing Conservatives.

On Friday, Labour leader Keir Starmer said Abbott, 70, was free to contest her seat in northeast London.

Abbott, Britain’s longest serving Black member of parliament who was first elected in 1987, had been suspended by the party for over a year after she said Jewish, Irish and Traveller people did not face racism all their lives.

The lawmaker, who apologised for the remarks, was reinstated to the party last week but earlier media reports had said she would be barred from standing.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Ros Russell)