Diane Julie Abbott is a British politician who has been serving as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987.
She is the first black woman to be elected to Parliament and the longest-serving black MP in the House of Commons. She served in the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Home Secretary from 2016 to 2020 and currently sits as an independent MP.
Abbott was born in Paddington, London on September 27, 1953, to Jamaican parents. Her father worked as a welder and her mother was a nurse.
She attended Harrow County School for Girls and then went to Newnham College, Cambridge, where she studied history and achieved a lower second-class degree. During her time at Cambridge, she was supervised by Sir Simon Schama.
After graduating, Abbott started as an administration trainee at the Home Office from 1976 to 1978.
Later, she worked as a Race Relations Officer at the National Council for Civil Liberties from 1978 to 1980. She then worked as a researcher and reporter at Thames Television from 1980 to 1983, followed by a research position at TV-am from 1983 to 1985.
From 1985 to 1986, she worked as a press officer at the Greater London Council under Ken Livingstone, and then as Head of Press and Public Relations at Lambeth Council from 1986 to 1987.
Abbott joined the Labour Party and was elected to Westminster City Council in 1982. She was then elected as an MP in 1987 and has been re-elected in every general election since.
She was a member of the Labour Party Black Sections and was critical of Tony Blair’s New Labour project that pushed the party towards the centre during the 1990s.
In the House of Commons, Abbott voted against several Blairite policies, including the Iraq War and the Identity Cards Act 2006.
Abbott stood for the Labour Party leadership in 2010 on a left-wing platform but lost heavily to Ed Miliband, who appointed her Shadow Minister for Health in the Official Opposition frontbench.
She supported Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to become Labour Leader in 2015 and eventually became Shadow Home Secretary in his Shadow Cabinet. As a key Corbyn ally, she supported his leftward push of the Labour Party.
However, after the 2019 general election, Abbott was removed from the Shadow Cabinet under Keir Starmer.
The Labour Party also withdrew the whip from Abbott following a letter she wrote to The Observer in which she compared racism against some groups to prejudice experienced by people with red hair.
Diane Abbott, a Labour MP, was suspended by the party over a letter she wrote about racism for The Observer newspaper.
The letter was published on Sunday, 22 April 2023, and caused controversy when Abbott stated that “many types of white people with points of difference” can experience prejudice, but they are not subject to racism “all their lives”.
Abbott later withdrew her remarks and apologised for any distress caused.
The Labour Party deemed the comments “deeply offensive and wrong”, leading to Abbott’s suspension.
In the letter, Abbott wrote that Irish, Jewish and Traveller people “undoubtedly experience prejudice”, which she said is “similar to racism”.
She continued by explaining that whilst many types of white people can experience prejudice, they are not subject to racism throughout their lives.
Her apology was deemed “entirely unconvincing” by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who described the letter as “disgraceful”.
The Jewish Labour Movement supported the party’s decision to suspend Abbott, stating that “a hierarchy of racism only divides communities and assists the racists”.
Suspending the whip means that Abbott will not be allowed to represent Labour in the House of Commons and will now sit as an independent MP.
The Labour Party has not yet commented on when an investigation into Abbott’s comments will begin, or who will lead it.
Who is James Abbott Thompson? Diane Abbott Only Son
Diane Abbott has only one son, James Abbot Thompson.
She had James with her ex-husband David Thompson
James Abbot have been the news for various reasons, James Abbott-Thompson, was arrested outside the Foreign Office in Whitehall, following an incident with an ’emergency worker’.
James Abbott-Thompson, has admitted to spitting at and biting police officers outside the Foreign Office in London after being denied entry.
The incident occurred in November 2022 when Abbott-Thompson became angry upon being told that the staff member he wished to see was not present.
When police arrived, they asked him to leave, but he refused and proceeded to attack the officers. He also admitted to assaulting a third man and causing damage to a glass plaque.
Abbott-Thompson previously worked at the British Embassy in Rome as First Secretary for Exiting the European Union.