Published: 16:53, May 29, 2024
UK's first black woman lawmaker barred from running for Labour
By Reuters
Labour Party MP Diane Abbott joins a demonstration organized by the Stand Up To Racism group outside Downing Street in London on July 17, 2021 to protest against racism and show solidarity with three England footballers who were racially abused online following the Euro 2020 final. (PHOTO / AFP)

LONDON - Britain's first Black woman lawmaker, Diane Abbott, said on Wednesday she had been barred from running as a Labour candidate in the July 4 general election after she was suspended more than a year ago for comments she made about Jews and racism.

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Abbott, who was first elected to parliament for Labour in 1987, was a close ally of the party's former leader Jeremy Corbyn and was on the left wing of the party.

Abbott was suspended last year after she sent a letter to the Observer newspaper in which she said the prejudice experienced by Jewish people was similar to, but not the same, as racism

Abbott was suspended last year after she sent a letter to the Observer newspaper in which she said the prejudice experienced by Jewish people was similar to, but not the same, as racism.

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"They undoubtedly experience prejudice. This is similar to racism and the two words are often used as if they are interchangeable," she wrote in the letter.

"It is true that many types of white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice."

"But they are not all their lives subject to racism."

Abbott apologized "unreservedly" after the letter was published but was suspended from the party. She told the BBC on Wednesday that she had been readmitted to the party, which is known as having the whip restored.

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"Although the whip has been restored, I am banned from standing as a Labour candidate," she said.