Jamaica Observer columnist vying to succeed Gordon Brown
Female MP of 23 years wants to lead British Labour PartyThursday, May 20, 2010
DIANNE Abbott, a daughter of Jamaican immigrants and a columnist with the Sunday Observer today announced she is running for the leadership of the British Labour Party.
The leftwing Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who becomes the first woman to enter the contest, Abbott says she is confident of attracting the necessary 33 nominations to contest the ballot to succeed Gordon Brown who is stepping down after losing the recent general election as Prime Minister.
She is the outsider among the six MPs to have joined the race so far. Her rivals are David Miliband, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, John McDonnell and Andy Burnham.
“I am not just another man in a suit. There’s not a lot of difference between the candidates so far. I am standing because I represent ‘real choice’, not a return to the Blair/Brown politics of the past 13 years. I voted against the Iraq war which is the single biggest source of disillusionment with Labour," she said.
She said that she hopes to provide a more diverse alternative to other candidates and to campaign on immigration and civil liberties issues.
"…I do not believe that we lost the election because of immigration, as some of my rivals seem to be suggesting. I am a truly independent candidate who will create real change out of the ashes of New Labour, and reclaim the true identity of the Labour Party. I want to provide a platform for debate about who should be the next leader, and that debate would not be complete without a candidate, like myself, who represents a more diverse choice.”
Born in 1953, Abbott became 34 years later the first black woman to be elected to the British parliament. A former career journalist she still appears weekly on BBC radio and television.
Observer columns by Dianne Abbott
Dianne Abbott website