Diane Abbott denies that she rejected antisemitism training

The Hackney MP has been suspended by Labour since she claimed Jews do not face racism


Diane Abbott talks to the media during the 'Stand With Abbott Rally' after she was racially abused by a Tory donor (Photo: Alishia Abodunde/Getty Images)

Diane Abbott has denied that she rejected antisemitism training offered by the Labour Party.

Several party sources are reported to have claimed that the independent Hackney MP has spiked attempts to bring her back into the fold. Her supporters insist Sir Keir Starmer wishes to prevent her from standing for the party again.

Abbott has been under investigation since her suspension from the party last April after she wrote a letter to The Observer in which she claimed that Jews, Irish people and travellers can not suffer racism but only prejudice akin to that experienced by people with red hair.

The veteran MP apologised following a public outcry and said that the document had been an “initial draft” sent by mistake.

According to The Independent, Abbott has since been offered the chance to have the whip restored if she apologised more fulsomely and underwent antisemitism training, but that she refused.

Speaking to The Independent, one unnamed shadow minister said: “And that is why this has been going on for 10 months and not 25 minutes.”

An MP from the left of the party told the paper: “I don’t know why she didn’t just do it.”

Abbott told The Independent: "I cannot disclose details of this process because, under Labour rules, that would be another disciplinary offence. But your sources are wrong in key respects.

“Yet their claims also show that the investigation process is fraudulent. The Labour Party has used this sham in an effort to bully me."

Writing later on X/Twitter, Abbott shared the article and added: “A blatantly shoddy piece of journalism.

“I told the reporter that all the key 'facts' in his piece were false - on the record. Instead, he has led with the unattributable briefings from Labour party sources. The facts can be verified by LP [Labour Party]. On the record.”

Labour MPs from across the party have expressed their solidarity with Abbott in recent days after it was revealed that a prominent Conservative Party donor had said she made him want to “hate all black women”.

Frank Hester, who is believed to have given the party up to £15 million, also said that he thought Abbott should be shot.

On Thursday, deputy party leader Angela Raynor said: “Personally I would like to see Diane back [as a Labour MP]. But the Labour Party has to follow its procedures… so it does not matter what I think.”

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