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Abbott stands apart from Miliband ‘soap opera’

Abbott: supporting Chagos Islanders

While the Labour leadership race heats up and heads toward the ballot there is one candidate who has not become so embroiled in the punch and judy style political sideswiping that was almost inevitably going to define the Labour leadership campaign final days.

That candidate is Diane Abbott.

Quite apart from remaining separated from the sibling duel which has come to feature in much of the news over the last few days, yesterday’s Guardian highlighted one of the campaigns that Ms Abbott is supporting-a campaign which none of the other leadership candidates supports, but which all have been invited to join.

Abbott supports the plight of the Chagossians islanders who were forcibly exiled from their home after the previous government declared their home a marine reserve, resulting in their inability to return to their homeland and earn a living. Abbott is the only leadership contender to publicly support their campaign to return home.

While Ed Balls’ criticisms last week of the current chancellor George Osbourne have been widely interpreted as an attempt to distance himself from the shadow of New Labour’s legacy and position himself for a possible role as Shadow Chancellor, Abbott has continued to campaign steadfastly.

Her very presence means we can’t forget that the leadership race must be about practical politics, not the politics of personality and that ultimately the contest should be about promoting debate and a battle of ideas.

By Richard Sudan

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