Diane Abbott

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Diane Abbott


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Diane Julie Abbott (born 27 September 1953) is a British politician who has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987. A member of the Labour Party, she served in the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Home Secretary from 2016 to 2020. Abbott was the first black woman elected to Parliament, and is the longest-serving black MP in the House of Commons. Born in Paddington, to a British-Jamaican family, Abbott attended Harrow County School for Girls before going to read History at Newnham College, Cambridge. After joining and leaving 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 returned in every general election since. She was a member of the Labour Party Black Sections. Critical of Tony Blair's New Labour project that pushed the party towards the centre during the 1990s, in the House of Commons Abbott voted against several Blairite policies, including the Iraq War and the Identity Cards Act 2006. She stood for the Labour Party leadership on a left-wing platform in 2010, losing heavily to Ed Miliband, who appointed her Shadow Minister for Health in 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 Health Secretary, and eventually Shadow Home Secretary. As a key 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. After the 2019 general election, Abbott was removed from the Shadow Cabinet under Keir Starmer. She remains in the House of Commons, but as a backbencher.