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Abbott responds to communities call to stand

Making waves in politics

Harold Wilson coined the phrase:  ‘A week is a long time in politics’,  but this takes some beating…

Following the last Labour leadership blog posting only hours ago Diane Abbott has announced her intention to stand in the Labour Party leadership contest.

She joins five other candidates David Miliband, his brother Ed Miliband, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and John McDonnell.

Announcing her candidacy on radio this morning, Abbott commented: “So many people in the past 48 hours have asked me to put my hat in the ring and I have finally decided to do so.”

The race was heading towards being an all white male affair until this news.

Abbott has been the M.P. for Hackney North and Stoke Newington for 23 years, and will be a welcome progressive face in the Labour contest.

By running, Abbott will raise the seriousness of the leadership debate at a time when it is surely needed-especially given recent criticisms that the new cabinet and Parliament as a whole still remains unrepresentative of the electorate.

Simon Woolley, OBV Director was one of the figures to push Diane to stand outlining the reason in an article for the Guardian yesterday. He highlighted the fact that all well as having all the necessary credentials needed to become a Labour leader-union backing, grassroots support and backbench experience; her presence will bring the question of diversity and equality to the forefront of the political debate.

The historical significance of Abbott-the first black woman elected to Parliament back in 1987 entering this race cannot be overstated.  The symbolism and hope that her entry into the race brings has the potential to inspire others women and Black leaders to follow suit.

We’ve never had a black prime minister in this country, nor have we had a black leader of a major political party.  What a landmark achievement that would be in bringing equality to our political system that one step closer.

This may be the beginning of something extraordinary and historic.

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3 Responses

  1. Well done Diane, just go for it. It better to live the experience rather than fantacizing it. Who knows, you might even win it.

  2. I agree with Lee Jasper’s view that Diane Abbot’s candidacy is a litmus test for equality in the Labour party. I think Labour would fail the test though. I think for too long, Labour has thought they own African, Asian & Caribbean people. We’re polling booth fodder and not expected to take positions of authority. I think we should all support parties with policies we support, regardless. If you’re rightwing or right of centre, then Tory or UKIP. If you’re left of centre or leftwing then, Lib Dem or Green. If you’re Scottish or Welsh, then SNP & Plaid, and if in NI, then Alliance since the other parties rely on a historical base that’s nothing to do with us.

    The labour party just indulges in tribal politics and has nothing to say to us at the moment.

  3. Hi Ijeoma,

    “I think for too long, Labour has thought they own African, Asian & Caribbean people.”

    Yes I agree with you. It has been so difficult for me to get this message accross to other minority ethnic citizens. The best thing that can happen to minority ethnic citizens is the loss of New Labour at the last election, and the formation of this coalition government.

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