Diane Abbott reinstated as Labor MP after investigation into race row

  • By Iain Watson
  • Political correspondent, BBC News

Diane Abbott has been reinstated as a Labor MP, the BBC understands, but it is unclear whether she will stand for the party in the general election.

The former shadow home secretary was suspended in April 2023 after saying Jews, Irish and Travelers do not face racism “all their lives”.

Her suspension meant she would not be able to stand as a Labor candidate on July 4.

Party officials had tried to reach a deal whereby she would take back the whip in exchange for resigning.

It is unclear whether the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has agreed to that deal.

The Labor Party has not confirmed who its candidate will be for the Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat. Ms Abbott has been contacted for comment.

The Labor Party launched an investigation in April last year after Abbott wrote in the Observer that Irish people, Jews and Travelers “undoubtedly experience prejudice” which she said is “akin to racism”.

The letter adds: “It is true that many types of white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice.

“But they are not subject to racism all their lives.”

Abbott apologized and withdrew his comments shortly after they were published.

BBC Newsnight previously revealed that the party’s investigation was completed in December 2023.

He was issued a “formal warning” by the Labor Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) for “engaging in conduct which, in the NEC’s opinion, was detrimental and extremely detrimental to the Labor Party”.

He said he expected her to take an “online e-learning module” which one source said was a two-hour anti-Semitism awareness course.

Ms Abbott took the module in February, after which it is understood she received an email from the head of the Labor Party acknowledging she had completed it.

Abbott, who became the first black woman elected to Parliament in 1987, was a close ally of former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and served as his shadow home secretary.

Corbyn, who was suspended as a Labor MP in 2020 for saying his opponents had “dramatically exaggerated” the scale of antisemitism within Labor ranks, has confirmed he will stand against the party.

He will stand as an independent candidate for Islington North, which he has held since 1983.

The complete list of Labor candidates will be approved in the CNE on Tuesday of next week.

Parliament is scheduled to formally close on Thursday, triggering the official five-week election campaign ahead of polling day on Thursday 4 July.