Exclusive: Diane Abbott Row Has Not Harmed Labour's Election Chances, Poll Finds

Diane Abbott addresses supporters outside Hackney Town Hall as she fought to remain a Labour MP.
Diane Abbott addresses supporters outside Hackney Town Hall as she fought to remain a Labour MP. Kristian Buus via Getty Images

Keir Starmer’s handling of the row over whether Diane Abbott should be a Labour candidate has not harmed the party’s election chances, according to a new poll.

The veteran left-winger was eventually confirmed as Labour’s candidate in Hackney North and Stoke Newington last Tuesday following days of internal wrangling.

She was finally given back the Labour whip at the end of May, but sources close to Starmer said she would not stand for the party in the general election on July 4.

After 48 hours of confusion, during which time Angela Rayner added her voice to those calling for Abbott to be allowed to stand, Starmer eventually caved in and said she was “free” to continue her 37-year parliamentary career.

But despite the controversy, a Techne poll for Independent Media found that 82% of British adults said it had made “no difference” to how they will vote.

While 3% said it made them more likely to vote Tory, 6% said it made them more like to back Labour.

Meanwhile, just 4% said it made it more likely they will not vote at all.

The findings will be a major relief for Starmer, who had come in for criticism for his handling of the row.

One former Labour MP told HuffPost UK: “The campaign started well, with the Tories on the back foot and Labour in control.

“The problem is that that has been seriously diminished. It now looks to voters like they’re both a shambles - and that is unforgivable. They have lost that initial momentum. They had got the Tories on the back foot and now they’ve blown it, which is deeply depressing.”

A former frontbencher said: “None of this will make a difference to the election result but there is a big list of gripes and problems they are storing up for the future.”