Abbott says she intends to run and win for Labour

Diane Abbott
[PA Media]

Diane Abbott has said she intends to stand for Labour at the general election, after a row over whether the party would pick her as a candidate.

After days of speculation, the veteran left-winger said she was the "adopted Labour candidate" in Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

A bitter row over whether the party would select her as its candidate in the seat has dominated the first week of campaigning.

Ms Abbott also denied reports she was among a number of Labour MPs who had been offered peerages in return for standing aside.

Writing on X, she said: "I have never been offered a seat in the Lords, and would not accept one if offered".

"I intend to run and to win as Labour's candidate," she added. The party is yet to comment.

Later on the same evening, Ms Abbott called Sir Keir a "liar" in response to his claim he had respect for her. However, she rapidly deleted the social media post.

It comes after Baroness Chakrabarti, a close ally, urged her to "take some time" to consider whether she wants to stand for Labour at the general election.

The Labour peer said the party's treatment of her "dear friend" had been "appalling," and she hit out at briefings she would be barred from running.

Ms Abbott, a shadow cabinet minister under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, has represented the Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat since 1987.

Asked about a Sunday Times report that Ms Abbott was among Labour MPs offered peerages by the party, Ms Cooper replied: “I don’t know anything about that”.

'Overgrown schoolboys'

Leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Friday she would be free to stand for the party, after reports that its ruling body would bar her from running.

It followed days of speculation that she would be blocked from being a candidate, despite being readmitted as a Labour MP earlier this week before Parliament was dissolved.

The move came after a 13-month investigation into Ms Abbott following the publication of a letter she wrote to a newspaper saying that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people do not face racism "all their lives".

Ms Abbott apologised and withdrew her remarks shortly after they were published.

A graphic reading 'more on general election 2024'
[BBC]

Speaking to Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Baroness Chakrabarti said the week's to-and-fro over whether she can stand had at times been "sordid".

"It’s not good for Keir Starmer’s leadership, it’s not good for the Labour Party," she added.

She hit out at “anonymous briefings by overgrown schoolboys in suits” for the newspaper reports she would be blocked, but added she had been "personally assured by the leadership" they had not been authorised by the party.

“I hope she will take some time to consider what she wants to do. That’s literally what I’ve suggested to her as her friend, and I hope that’s what she is going to do”.

Earlier this week, Ms Abbott said she wanted to stay on as Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP "as long as it is possible".

Before Sir Keir confirmed she could run, she had previously accused the party leadership of wanting to "exclude" her from Parliament.

A full list of candidates in Hackney North and Stoke Newington will be available on the BBC News website after nominations close on Friday.

Who is Diane Abbott?

  • First black woman to be elected to Parliament in 1987, as MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington in east London

  • After a long career on the backbenches, she was promoted to Ed Miliband's front bench following her unsuccessful bid to become Labour leader in 2010

  • Previously held the posts of shadow international development secretary and shadow health secretary

  • A close ally of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she was appointed as his shadow home secretary in 2016, a position she held until 2020