Diane Abbott today announced her candidacy for the Labour leadership. 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 having doubled her majority in the 2010 election.
Her announcement will be welcomed by the progressive Labour movement.
Diane Abbott MP said:
“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 other candidates are all nice and would make good leaders of the Labour Party, but they all look the same. We cannot be offering a slate of candidates who all look the same. The Labour Party’s much more diverse than that. I looked at the field and said ‘If not now, when?’ And ‘If not me, who?’
OBV Director, Simon Woolley:
“Diane Abbott standing for the Labour leadership is a much needed boost to the race. Her candidacy will bring the Black experience centre stage, and the equality agenda to the forefront of leadership battle. As a backbencher for over 20 years she brings unparalleled experience of the grassroots, and unprecedented knowledge as the only candidate who was an MP in Opposition. Furthermore, as a Black woman, Diane will inspire others to aspire to high office and say ‘Yes we can’.”
Lee Jasper, chief political correspondent of the Voice newspaper said:
“Diane Abbott deserves our congratulations for being the first Black woman in British political history to stand for the leadership of a mainstream party. Her leadership bid will be an equality litmus test for the Labour Party.”
Benjamin Zephaniah, Poet and social commentator, said:
“Everyone is talking about British politics going into new territory, but I think that Diane Abbott’s bid for the leadership of the Labour party is really going to take politics to a new level. For me it’s not just about being black, it’s not just about being female. It is about her ideas. With her compassion and her passion, she might just remind the political process and the general public just what politics should stand for. Now that would be something.”
Note to Editors:
- Operation Black Vote is a non-party political campaign.
- The term ‘Black’ is a political term. It refers to African, Asian, Caribbean and other ethnic minorities.
- There are 27 Black MPs in Parliament – 16 Labour – 11 Conservatives