Suspended Diane Abbott blasts ‘fraudulent’ disciplinary probe

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Suspended Diane Abbott blasts ‘fraudulent’ disciplinary probe

The Hackney North MP, suspended in April over newspaper letter claiming Jews don't experience racism, claims she is being replaced as the Labour candidate 'prior to the next election”.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Diane Abbott (YouTube screengrab)
Diane Abbott (YouTube screengrab)

Suspended Labour MP Diane Abbott has issued a statement claiming she no longer has faith she will get a “fair hearing” over an investigation into the inflammatory letter she wrote to a newspaper claiming Jewish, Irish and Traveller people only experienced “prejudice” rather than racism.

In a lengthy message posted on social media, the Hackney North MP, who lost the Labour whip over the letter in April, claimed the party leadership wished to install its own candidate to stand in the London seat at the next election.

She claimed the internal investigation into the her decision to send the letter to the Observer newspaper was “fraudulent” and was now being entirely run out of Labour HQ “which reports to Keir Starmer”.

Abbott claimed she was told by the Labour chief whip to “actively engage” with the investigation, “but the Labour Whips are no long involved – it is now run entirely out of the Labour Party HQ, which reports to Keir Starmer”.

She claimed moves had now been taken to “replace me as the candidate prior to the next election”.

Abbott added in her post on X, previously known as Twitter:”The Labour Party has not charged me with antisemitism because they know it is untrue.” But the MP said the allegation had been used to “smear me, my reputation and decades of anti-racism work.”

She wrote that she had “immediately apologised” for the letter and claimed “others have committed far more grave offences” and that some had been “immediately excused” as supporters of Starmer.

In a hint as to why she had decided to release a statement now, Abbott referred in her statement  to the replacement of elected officers in her own Hackney North CLP in July.

She then referenced the conviction of an-councillor in neighbouring Hackney South on child sex offences and his association with Hackney mayor Philip Glanville, who resigned last week, who Abbott claimed “continued to associate with him even after his arrest.”

Jewish News understands that Labour’s regional chiefs decided to intervene in Hackney North to prevent an issue that was a live police matter being discussed publicly.

They have subsequently installed a new set of officers into Hackney North CLP on an interim basis, while boundary changes that will affect the seat are finalised.

In her statement, Abbott claimed:”In effect the Labour apparatus has decapitated the elected leadership of the constituency party to install its own hand-picked personnel and replace me as the candidate prior to the next election.”

Labour sources alleged that it was “almost inconceivable” that Abbott would be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate at the next election, pending an investigation into the writing of the letter.

One party source claimed the content of the letter had effectively spelt out a “hierarchy of racism”, and the party would be betraying its commitments to the EHRC equalities watchdog were she allowed to stand for election again.

Labour insiders also highlighted claims that the Observer newspaper had checked the text of the letter with the MP’s office ahead of its publication.

Abbott, who has been an MP since 1987 and was the first black woman elected to Parliament, served as shadow home secretary in Mr Corbyn’s cabinet between 2016 to 2020.

A Labour Party spokesperson said of Abbott’s statement: “The Labour Party rightly expects the highest standards of behaviour from its elected representatives, and has introduced an independent complaints process to investigate cases.
“We do not give a running commentary on ongoing investigations.”

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