“There is a widespread sentiment that as a Black woman, & someone on the left of the Labour Party, that I will not get a fair hearing from this Labour leadership.”Diane Abbott MP
Statement from DIane Abbott MP
The internal Labour Party disciplinary against me is fraudulent. I was told by the Chief Whip to ‘actively engage’ with an investigation. But the Labour Whips are no longer involved– it is now run entirely out of the Labour Party HQ, which reports to Keir Starmer – and there is no investigation.
This is the same Keir Starmer who almost immediately pronounced my guilt publicly. This completely undermines any idea that there is fairness or any natural justice. It is procedurally improper.
To be clear, I immediately and unreservedly apologised for my letter. Others have committed far more grave offences, and belated or grudging apologies have been wrung from them. Yet they have been immediately excused as supporters of this leadership.
The Labour Party has not charged me with antisemitism because they know it is untrue. As someone who has fought all forms of racism all my life, I would consider it a very serious allegation. Instead, it has been used to smear me, my reputation, and decades of anti-racist work.
Coming from the current leadership is hard to stomach. It is no secret that a large proportion of the racism that the Forde Report uncovered was personally directed against me, including ““expressions of visceral disgust, drawing (consciously or otherwise) on racist tropes and they bear little resemblance to the criticisms of white male MPs elsewhere in the messages.” I have never received an apology from the Leader, the General Secretary or any of the perpetrators for that racism. I am not even aware of any of the culprits facing disciplinary measures, as I am now obliged to do.
I have remained silent about this issue until now. This was in the hope that some sense of decency, and recognition of the tenets of natural justice might prevail. The Labour Party disciplinary machine has clearly shown that it has little interest in either.
Fully aware of the overwhelming support for me in my local constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington, in July the regional party apparatus intervened into my local party to stop its elected officers from being able to communicate with local members. The excuse given was quite outrageous. In the neighbouring constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch, a former Labour councillor has recently been convicted of paedophile pornography offences. This individual was election agent for Hackney South MP, Meg Hillier. He also shared a house with Hackney’s Mayor, Philip Glanville, who continued to associate with him, even after being informed of his arrest. Understandably Labour members in both Hackney constituencies raised questions internally within the party about the relevant child safeguarding issues posed.
Outrageously, these discussions were used as the pretext to cut off the local party’s means of communication with its members. Recently, the London regional office closed down the Executive Committee in my constituency party and replaced its principal officers.
In effect, the Labour apparatus has decapitated the elected leadership of the constituency party, to install its own, hand-picked personnel and replace me as the candidate prior to the next election.
This is what some have clearly wanted all along. Taken together, the procedural impropriety, Starmer’s pronouncement of my guilt, the four-month delay in the investigation, the repeated refusal to try to reach any accommodation, all point in the direction that the verdict has already been reached. The crushing of democracy in my local Labour Party is the latest confirmation.
I am the longest serving Black MP. Yet there is a widespread sentiment that as a Black woman, and someone on the left of the Labour Party, that I will not get a fair hearing from this Labour leadership.
- This was originally published by Diane Abbott here and is reproduced in full above.