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Labour probe into Diane Abbott ‘will be resolved before election’

Diane Abbott had the whip withdrawn in 2023 (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Diane Abbott had the whip withdrawn in 2023 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

A Labour investigation into veteran MP Diane Abbott will be resolved before the General Election, party leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington had the whip withdrawn in April 2023 after writing a letter to The Observer newspaper in which she said Irish and Jewish people and Travellers experience prejudice, but not racism – describing their position as akin to redheads.

She has remained a party member but has sat as an independent MP while an internal investigation into her comments continues.

Asked about the probe and whether she will run as a Labour candidate by Sky News, Sir Keir said: “The final decisions on candidates is coming up in a few days’ time, I think June 4, it may be a little earlier, a little later, I can’t quite remember.

Sir Keir Starmer
The Labour leader said a decision will be made before the July 4 poll (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“But within a relatively short period of time the final list of candidates will be decided, and that will be a matter for the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee.”

Labour’s position on the matter has come under increased scrutiny because of Sir Keir’s decision to admit Natalie Elphicke, the MP for Dover, into the party despite her support for Brexit and accusations over her role in lobbying ministers over her then-husband Charlie’s sexual assault case.

It comes as Jeremy Corbyn announced that he is running as an independent in his former constituency of Islington North.

The former Labour leader was suspended from the parliamentary Labour party in 2020 when he suggested that a Equality and Human Rights Commission report into the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints had been “dramatically overstated”.