Diane Abbott threatens to face towards Labour if she’s blocked as candidate

Diane Abbott has threatened to stand against Labour if they block her from being a candidate.

At a rally in her constituency tonight, she vowed to be the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington “as long as it is possible”.

Ms Abbott – the first Black woman elected to Parliament in 1987 – has claimed she has been blocked from standing for re-election by party bosses. But Keir Starmer today insisted no decision had been taken, telling reporters on the campaign trail in Worcester it was “not true” she had been barred.

It came as other left-wingers faced being stopped from standing. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who has been the MP for Brighton Kemptown since 2017, was suspended from the party after it received a “serious complaint” about him. He insisted the allegations, which will prevent him from being a candidate, were “vexatious” and “false”.

Faiza Shaheen, who had been selected to stand for the party in Chingford and Woodford Green, is also understood to be at risk of being blocked. The party received a complaint over claims she liked a social media post on accusing the “hysterical” Israel lobby of making “antisemitism accusations”. The tweet claimed anybody who is mildly critical of Israel is “assailed” by “professional organisations” who “every time” inflict “non-stop harassment” and “accuse you of antisemitism”.

Ms Abbott had the Labour whip restored on Tuesday over a year after it was suspended when she suggested Jewish, Irish and Traveller people experienced prejudice, but not racism all their lives. She apologised at the time and is understood to have attended an anti-Semitism awareness course in February.

But she told the BBC this morning: “Although the whip has been restored, I am banned from standing as a Labour candidate.”

Mr Starmer told reporters in Worcester: “No decision has been taken to bar Diane Abbott. The process that we were going through ended with the restoration of the whip the other day, so she’s a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and no decision has been taken barring her.”

The decision on whether she can stand will ultimately be taken by Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC).

Addressing a crowd outside Hackney Town Hall tonight, Ms Abbott said: “You have always stood with me in good times and bad and I will always stand with you… So I promise you that as long as it is possible, I will be the Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.”

Mr Russell-Moyle tonight revealed he had been stopped from seeking re-election. In a statement, the left-winger said that he believed the complaint was “politically motivated”. He wrote: “Someone (who remains anonymous to me) has made what I believe to be a vexatious and politically motivated complaint about my behaviour eight years ago. This is a false allegation that I dispute totally and I believe it was designed to disrupt this election.

“There isn’t enough time to defend myself as these processes within the party take too long, so the party [has] told me that I will not be eligible to be a candidate at the next election.”

Mr Russell-Moyle, 37, added: “I aim to cooperate with the investigations process to clear my name, but will now take this opportunity to contribute to public life in different ways under what I hope is a Labour government. I wish Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, and the Labour team the best of luck and hope to be celebrating Labour wins across Sussex and beyond on election night.”

A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.” It is understood Mr Russell-Moyle is suspended pending investigation following the receipt of a serious complaint last week.