Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington

In 1987 Diane Abbott made history by becoming the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. She has since built a distinguished career as a parliamentarian, broadcaster and commentator.

Diane was born in London in 1953. She attended the grammar school Harrow County and then went on to Newnham College Cambridge, where she obtained a Masters degree in History.

On leaving Cambridge, Diane joined Government as a Home Office civil servant. She went on to work for the lobby group the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty), and then became a journalist. She worked extensively as a freelancer and she went on to work as a reporter for the breakfast television company TV-AM and Thames Television. She also worked as a public relations consultant for various public sector clients.

Diane has served on a number of parliamentary committees on social and international issues. She was also elected onto the National Executive of the Labour Party. For most of the 1990s she served on the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons. She went on to serve on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

More recently she set up a special parliamentary committee investigating gun crime and she chairs the All Party Parliamentary British-Caribbean Group and the All Party Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Group. Diane’s work in Parliament has centred on education, crime, civil liberties, immigration and international affairs.

Diane is founder of the London Schools and the Black Child initiative, which aims to raise educational achievement levels amongst Black children. For this she hosts an annual conference for educators, children and their parents and an annual academic awards ceremony.

In 2008 Diane was awarded the Spectator/Threadneedle Speech of the Year Award and a Human Rights Award from Liberty.

Diane’s pledges

Standing up for my beliefs – I opposed the Iraq War, am against putting innocent people’s DNA on a government database and am against compulsory ID cards

A real Olympic legacy – I will continue to campaign for more jobs for local people on the Olympic site

Protecting services – Only a Labour government will protect our schools, hospitals and public services

Action on climate change – I will support even more action by my government to fight climate change

Gangs, guns and knives – I will continue to tackle the root causes of gun and knife crime in Hackney

Find out more about Diane Abbott.

Other candidates.

Note: this article was originally published 6 April 2010 and was then re-published 25 April 2010