Up to Diane Abbott whether she stands for Labour – Cooper

Up to Diane Abbott whether she stands for Labour – Cooper

17 minutes agoPaul Seddon,Political reporterGetty Images

Labour’s Yvette Cooper has said it is for Diane Abbott to decide whether she wants to stand for the party at the general election.

Asked whether she wanted to see the veteran MP run, the shadow home secretary said it “has to be Diane’s decision”.

But she added she would “obviously support her” if she decides to stand for Labour again in the Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat.

It follows a bitter row over whether the party would select her as its candidate for the poll on 4 July.

Ms Abbott, a shadow cabinet minister under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, is yet to confirm whether she wants to stand for Labour.

Asked about a Sunday Times report that Ms Abbott was among Labour MPs offered peerages by the party to stand aside, Ms Cooper replied: “I don’t know anything about that”.

Leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Friday she would be free to stand for the party, after reports that the party’s ruling body would bar her from running.

It came after days of speculation that she would be blocked from being a candidate, despite being readmitted as a Labour MP earlier this week.

The move followed a 13-month investigation into Ms Abbott after she wrote in a letter to a newspaper that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people do not face racism “all their lives”.

Ms Abbott apologised and withdrew her remarks shortly after they were published.

Speaking earlier this week, Ms Abbott said she wanted to stay on as Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP “as long as it is possible”.

But she has not said whether she will actually run for Labour since getting the green light to do so, with a party meeting to finalise Labour’s slate of candidates due to take place on Tuesday.

Before Sir Keir confirmed she could run, she had previously accused the party leadership of wanting to “exclude” her from Parliament.

‘Overgrown schoolboys’

Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti told the BBC she wanted Ms Abbott, a close friend, to “take some time to consider what she wants to do”.

Speaking to Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, she added her treatment by the party had been “appalling”.

She hit out at “anonymous briefings by overgrown schoolboys in suits” for the newspaper reports she would be blocked, but added she had been “personally assured by the leadership” they had not been authorised by the party.

Asked on Sky News whether she expected Ms Abbott to run, Ms Cooper replied: “I assume so, yes”.

Who is Diane Abbott?

First black woman to be elected to Parliament in 1987, as MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington in east LondonAfter a long career on the backbenches, she was promoted to Ed Miliband’s front bench following her unsuccessful bid to become Labour leader in 2010Previously held the posts of shadow international development secretary and shadow health secretaryA close ally of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she was appointed as his shadow home secretary in 2016, a position she held until 2020

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