Diane Abbott

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Diane Abbott


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Diane Julie Abbott (born 27 September 1953) is a British politician who is a serving Member of Parliament (MP) for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since being elected in 1987. She served in the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Home Secretary from 2016 to 2020 and is an advisor to the Privy Council. She is both the first black woman elected to parliament and the longest-serving black MP. She remains a member of the Labour Party, while sitting in the House of Commons as an independent, having had the whip suspended in April 2023. Born in Paddington to a British-Jamaican family, Abbott attended Harrow County School for Girls before reading History at Newnham College, Cambridge. After working for the Civil Service, she worked as a reporter for Thames Television and TV-am before becoming a press officer for the Greater London Council. Joining the Labour Party, she was elected to Westminster City Council in 1982 and then as an MP in 1987, being re-elected in every general election since. She was a member of the Labour Party Black Sections. Critical of Tony Blair's New Labour project that moved the party towards the centre during the mid to late 1990s, Abbott voted against several Blair policies, including the Iraq War and the Identity Cards Act 2006. She stood for election as Leader of the Labour Party on a left-wing platform in the 2010 leadership election, finishing in last place in a contest that was won by Ed Miliband, who appointed her Shadow Minister for Health on the Official Opposition frontbench. A supporter of Jeremy Corbyn's bid to become Labour leader in 2015, Abbott became Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, then Shadow Secretary of State for Health, and eventually Shadow Home Secretary. A Corbyn ally, she supported his leftward push of the Labour Party. She unsuccessfully attempted to be chosen as the Labour candidate for the 2016 London mayoral election, and backed the unsuccessful Britain Stronger in Europe campaign to retain UK membership of the European Union. Following the 2019 general election, Abbott was removed from the Shadow Cabinet by Keir Starmer. During her political career, Abbott has made many controversial statements, several of which were about race. In April 2023 Abbott wrote a letter to The Observer in which she said racism experienced by Jewish, Irish, and Traveller people was not the same as that experienced by black people. As a result, the Labour Party withdrew the whip.