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Starmer faces criticism as Diane Abbott race investigation concluded five months ago

SIR Keir Starmer finds himself embroiled in a fresh controversy surrounding Diane Abbott’s suspension, as it has come to light that the investigation into her was concluded five months ago. Despite this revelation, the Labour leader has steadfastly declined to confirm whether Ms Abbott, the longest-serving Black MP, will be permitted to stand for the party in the upcoming general election on 4th July.

Ms Abbott was suspended last April following a letter she penned, suggesting that Jewish people do not face the same level of racism as some other minorities. Expressing regret over her remarks, the former shadow home secretary under Jeremy Corbyn clarified that the letter was an “initial draft.”

Over a year later, Sir Keir maintains that an ongoing investigation into Ms Abbott’s conduct exists, asserting his inability to intervene in the matter. He has only committed to resolving the issue by 4th June. However, a Newsnight report has refuted this claim, revealing that the investigation was finalised in December. It disclosed that Ms Abbott received a formal warning and was required to complete an antisemitism awareness course, which she fulfilled by February.

A source close to Ms Abbott disclosed to the BBC programme that she remains unaware of whether she will be permitted to contest for the Labour Party in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, where she has held office since 1987. However, the source suggested she doesn’t anticipate her suspension being lifted, alleging that the party has predetermined the outcome and is prolonging the process to obstruct her candidacy in the election.

In the contentious letter that led to her suspension, published in The Observer, Ms Abbott argued that Jewish people are not subjected to the same racism as some other minority groups. Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner and veteran MP Harriet Harman have voiced support for her reinstatement into the party.

Failure to lift Ms Abbott’s suspension by the 4th June deadline would either force her into retirement or compel her to stand as an independent candidate against the party she has represented for over three decades. Reinstating Ms Abbott into the Labour fold would be viewed as an olive branch to left-leaning MPs and activists critical of the investigation, but it risks accusations that Sir Keir has not adequately distanced himself from the legacy of the Corbyn era, which he seeks to disassociate from.

Ms Abbott has previously condemned the investigation as “fraudulent” and accused it of being used to “bully” her. Despite the ongoing saga, she has not hinted at any intention to step down ahead of the next election. A spokesperson for the left-wing campaign group Momentum denounced the revelation, accusing the Starmer leadership of attempting to oust Britain’s first Black woman MP from Parliament. They urged Sir Keir to reinstate Ms Abbott’s whip and allow her to contest as the Labour candidate in her constituency if she chooses to do so.

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