Keir Starmer capitulates in Diane Abbott row | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Sir Keir Starmer has lastly caved in after days of Labour rowing and stress from the arduous left, and given Diane Abbott the nod to face as a candidate on the election.

Following Angela Rayner’s bombshell present of sympathy with the controversial socialist yesterday, Sir Keir has simply mentioned Diane Abbott is “free to go forward as a Labour candidate”.

He informed reporters that “The whip has clearly been restored to her now and she or he is free to go ahead as a Labour candidate”, before praising her as a “trailblazer”.

The move is a major blow to the Labour leader’s authority, and a victory for his outspoken deputy leader.

Just a few hours ago, Sir Keir refused to say anything about Ms Abbott’s future in Labour beyond reiterating that no decision has been taken.

The row has overshadowed nearly three full days of Labour’s campaign this week, with Sir Keir also accused of launching a wider coup against left-wingers in his party.

Ms Abbott had threatened to stand as an independent against Labour, but her future in politics remains uncertain.

Sir Keir was further humiliated this morning as he was forced to stand on stage with his Scottish leader Anas Sarwar, who this morning also came out on Ms Abbott’s side in the row.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I might agree with Angela that Diane Abbott is somebody who’s a historic determine in our occasion, a trailblazer, and somebody who has a file of service for our occasion”.

He added: “The article that Diane Abbott wrote which was not acceptable, which led to a disciplinary investigation, an investigation that has now concluded”.

“We’ve had the disciplinary process, she’s had the whip restored, it’s now for the NEC to do the endorsements of candidates, and I hope people will recognise Diane Abbott is a trailblazer, someone with a strong history in the Labour party, but ultimately that’s a decision for the NEC.”

Yesterday Angela Rayner very publicly broke ranks, saying “I don’t think there’s any reason” why Ms Abbott should not stand and the row over her future was “not a great look”.

Uncertainty about Ms Abbott’s fate, the suspension of Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who was MP for Brighton Kemptown and the decision not to endorse candidate Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and Woodford Green has led to an angry backlash that Sir Keir and his allies are carrying out a “cull” of the Labour left.

The Tories said the blistering row, which has engulfed the Labour party for the past two days, shows their election campaign has “descended into chaos”.

Rishi Sunak said that the Labour Party is “focused on talking about themselves” but should be more “transparent” about the timeline of events surrounding Ms Abbott’s suspension and investigation.

And Jeremy Hunt warned that Sir Keir will struggle on the world stage to stand up against Russia if he can’t take swift action over Ms Abbott.

Angela Rayner’s intervention yesterday joined countless other Labour voices furiously demanding that Ms Abbott is not forcibly retired at the election.

Labour MP Beth Winter, from the Socialist Campaign Group, said the way “she has been treated is vindictive, factional and cruel”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told the Evening Standard that Ms Abbott was a “trailblazer” and recalled how seeing her in 1987 “made a huge impact on me in a positive sense of the word”.

Mr Khan added: “She’s someone who’s done a huge amount for Hackney, for London, for our country. So I think it’s really important that she’s given the respect she deserves.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips said the party should allow Diane Abbott to stand as a candidate.

She said: “I believe that the delay has been unedifying. The entire factor has been unedifying. I’m undecided why there may be this confusion or a distinction of opinion. It sounds to me like Diane will be capable of stand.

“What I believe all people had hoped for on this course of was that, and clearly we do not know that the election was coming, was that Diane can be readmitted again to the Labour Party publish. The investigation, which I’ve mentioned earlier than publicly, took too lengthy.”