Labour Black Socialists condemn Keir Starmer’s treatment of Diane Abbott – with date set for decision on MP’s future

Abbott supporters hold up a banner outside Hackney Town Hall. Photograph: Maya Sall

A representative from Hackney Black Labour Socialists has slammed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for his treatment of Hackney MP Diane Abbott.

Starmer recently announced that a decision will be made on Abbott’s reinstatement by 4 June – the same day as Labour’s deadline for candidate selections.

“It’s a vicious, factional act that he [Keir Starmer] thinks he can get away with,” said Lucie Scott, ex-BAME officer for Hackney North Labour, who has been at the forefront of a campaign for Abbott to be reinstated.

Abbott was suspended by Labour last year after she suggested in a newspaper column that Jewish people had not faced the same lifelong racism as other minorities.

“By not saying if she will be reinstated as the Labour candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Starmer is deliberately keeping her in suspense,” said Scott.

“From his actions, it is clear he wants to eradicate Diane and tarnish her reputation and legacy.”

She added: “There’s a lot of anger and deep-seated pain – Diane being treated like that is an indication that our votes don’t matter.”

The Citizen put these accusations to London Labour but has not received a response.

Abbott is yet to reveal if she will stand as an independent if Labour does not reinstate her.

Scott said that Abbott wants to be reinstated “to the party that she has been a member of for 40 years”.

A petition addressed to Keir Starmer calling for the whip to be restored has so far reached 15,000 signatures.

Diane Abbott was approached for comment but did not respond.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Abbott said the future of her reinstatement has “everything” to do with Starmer.

The Labour leader had distanced himself from the decision-making process on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week.

He said: “It’s not a question of what I want… the days when the leader of the Labour party rolls up his or her sleeves and gets involved in disciplinary cases are well and truly over.”

He added: “That’s what Jeremy Corbyn did, and it ended very badly.”

Update: this article was amended on 25 May 2024 to add Lucie Scott’s former position in the Hackney North branch of the Labour party.