Diane Abbott declares she will run as a Labour candidate and intends to win

Diane Abbott has declared she intends to run as a Labour candidate at the election as she denied she was offered a seat in the Lords to stand down.

On Friday the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the veteran MP was “free” to stand for the party after days of an extraordinary back and forth about whether she would be blocked.

The dramatic U-turn came after his deputy Angela Rayner said the UK’s first black MP should be allowed to fight the seat she has represented since 1987 – in a break with her party leader.

On Sunday Ms Abbott said she was the “adopted Labour candidate” for her London constituency, adding: “I intend to run and to win as Labour’s candidate.”

Diane Abbott (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Diane Abbott (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

Earlier a close ally of Ms Abbott hit out at what she denounced as a “sordid week of unauthorised anonymous briefings by overgrown schoolboys in suits with their feet on the table” who had watched “too much West Wing”.

Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti said she had advised her friend to “take some time to consider what she wants to do”.

It came as a senior Labour figure denied she had been offered a peerage to leave the Commons, amid claims of a left-wing purge.

In her tweet on Sunday, Ms Abbott said: “I have never been offered a seat in the Lords, and would not accept one if offered.”

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)

Ms Abbott was given the Labour whip back last week, clearing the way for her to stand for the party. She had been suspended after she suggested Jewish, Irish and Traveller people experience prejudice but not racism, and had sat as an independent MP.

Reports in The Sunday Times said a number of former Labour MPs, including Ms Abbott, have been offered peerages to quit and open up seats for allies of Sir Keir.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips on Sky News: “There’s a whole process with the independent committee that will vet nominations, there have to be processes in terms of the numbers of nominations, designated by the prime minister and so on.

“So, no party can do that or make those sorts of commitments.”

Earlier, Baroness Chakrabarti told BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg it had been a “sometimes sordid week of unauthorised anonymous briefings by overgrown schoolboys in suits with their feet on the table, maybe watching too much West Wing but not taking on its more progressive values”.

She added that “it’s been pretty appalling, trying to bully someone of her stature”, and “it’s not good for Keir Starmer’s leadership, it’s not good for the Labour Party, and it hasn’t been very nice for Diane and for common decency”.