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Harman Nominates Abbott as Balls calls for Other MPs to do the Same

Harriet Harman backing Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott received an immense boost to her party leadership bid today when acting Labour leader Harriet Harman nominated her.

The party leader usually remains impartial in the nomination process, but Harman’s bold move brings a renewed emphasis for Abbott to be included on the ballot paper.

The deadline for nominations is 12.30pm tomorrow.

Abbott and fellow candidate John McDonnell have argued that their inclusion on the ballot paper would represent real difference to the mainstream candidates of Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and David Miliband.

However Abbott is still far short of the 33 nominations.

Balls reportedly told a meeting of union members that MPs who had still to cast their vote and were considering backing him, to instead throw their weight behind Abbott as he has already received the required 33 nominations.

A spokeswoman for Harman told The Guardian: “The Labour party knows that whoever wins the leadership contest, there will not be a men-only leadership at the top of the Labour party as Harriet will continue in her role as deputy leader. However, she feels that the party does not want the leadership election, and the debate that it will generate, to be men only. Harriet will play no part in the eventual outcome as she will not cast her vote. She will continue to serve as deputy leader alongside whoever wins. Therefore, she has nominated Diane.”

By Dominic Bascombe

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