Exclusive: David Lammy to nominate Diane Abbott


12:19 pm - May 24th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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David Lammy MP will today become the most high-profile Labour MP to endorse Diane Abbott for the party’s leadership.

In a statement to Liberal Conspiracy he said:

Ever since I was first elected to parliament I have called for a more diverse and representative political class. It would go against all that not to help Diane Abbott get on to the ballot paper now. To have a leadership election without a single woman involved would send a terrible signal.

I would say to colleagues that lending someone your nomination is not the same as voting for a candidate in the final ballot. The question at this stage is whether we can have a more diverse field and an open discussion over the next few months. I think we should.

David Lammy is the MP for Tottenham and former Minister for Higher Education.

Earlier today Diane Abbott told Sky News that David Miliband’s nominations were squeezing out smaller candidates.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Let’s hope she gets on the ballot – altho I don’t think even between them, her and McDonnell will get 33.

David M now has over 100.
Ed over 70.
Balls around 20.
Burnham around 15 I think.
McDonnell had 11 the last time I read. Don’t know about Diane.

Burnham will be lucky to get onto the ballot paper. We could be faced with a situation where the candidates will all be white, male, 40-ish, and had studied the SAME degree at the SAME university.

So much for “flaccid” “ConDem” lack of diversity, eh?

The bar for nominations is too high at 33 – it is almost as if we are scared of a debate! The leadership contest is not just a chance to get headlines, but is also handy for recruitment and a chance for renewal. It must reflect the diverseness of our appeal.

I am still open-minded about who I will vote for, but I would hope that all six contenders can get on the ballot paper.

Julian,

The actual bar is 12.5% of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). 33 just happens to be 12.5% of the PLP.

If the bar was lowered to, let’s say, 5%. It would give massive rise to PLP factions where MPs just stick with their mates, rather than have a look at what the candidates are offering.

It also has the potential to give rise to division within the PLP because MPs would be less inclined to see what they have in common with the runners and riders, and would instead be lured into “cronyism.”

In the interests of having a united and stable PLP, it is in the interests of the NEC to keep the bar at 12.5%.

I agree with Luke. 12.5% is what, one EIGHTH of the PLP? Are you telling me that people who can’t even get one eighth of the PLP to back them are viable candidates for leadership?

“David Lammy: ‘To have a leadership election without a single woman involved would send a terrible signal'”

So let’s chuck a token one in who has no chance of winning and is tainted by her own hypocrisy.

Oh, and she’s black too! Bonus token points!!

Blanco – it’s rather silly to say that people should only be nominated if the establishment think they have a chance of winning.

Diane Abbott would widen the debate and make excellent points the other candidates won’t. For that reason alone she is worth having in the race. It’s not always about who has the establishment stamp of approval.

and is tainted by her own hypocrisy.

Oh god, really people, get over it. This is getting rather tired and idiotic.

Oh… if the repulsive Balls doesn’t win, please please let it be the obese, hypocritical Abbott.

Labour will be out of Office for a generation at least.

Abbott will not get enough nominations …her body language says it all ….hopefully McDonnell will , but even so …The Labour Party is a joke..and should be abandoned by anyone of a socialist persuasion.

Sunny’s post is spot on. 12.5% of MP’s doesn’t sound a lot but in practice it is. Why should the PLP veto who gets on the ballot paper? especially when so many of them are careerists who will be careful of who they nominate. A friend of mine relaid the story of Richard Balfe (ex-Labour MEP who defected to the Tories). Asked why he supported Tony Blair for leader he replied “because he is going to win”

“The Labour Party is a joke..and should be abandoned by anyone of a socialist persuasion.” The results of the election say otherwise – Respect, TUSC etc

And Labour is socialist because??

With friends like Lammy I don’t think Abbott needs any enemies.

I would say to colleagues that lending someone your nomination is not the same as voting for a candidate in the final ballot

In other words Lammy will nominate Abbott and then vote against her. Some endorsement!

Sunny: I think 12.5% of the PLP is sufficient barrier. If you made it any lower then all sorts of cranks would run. In US presidential contests, as close to our leadership elections as anything in the UK, they have an extensive system which allows for candidates with sufficient backing to be serious contenders. You even get guys like Dennis Kucinich to shake things up from the left. Now there’s a lot of money in the presidential nominating contests but that’s because there’s a lot of money in the presidential election.

We don’t have nearly as much money, but the equivalent is backing: of the media, of the unions, of the public, and yes, of the establishment. If a candidate can’t demonstrate they have some significant level of support, what use will they be in the final round of any nominating contest? If Diane Abbott is the leader who could win a general election against Cameron-Clegg, then surely she should be able to convince her OWN PARTY – who are NOT the “establishment”, but just a bunch of Labour MPs.

As for hypocrisy – no, I don’t mean the public school thing, although the daft idiot must realise that will always haunt her. I mean the fact that she was one of those who destroyed any chance of a LibLab pact a few weeks ago, saying Labour should spend time in opposition, and that they should be humble and accept the verdict of the people. Will she and her supporters accept the verdict of the electorate in this race? I don’t think so. Already we are hearing people whine about how “high” 1/8 is.

I’m obviously missing something. Probably that she has a good voting record in Parliament or something like that which I’m unaware of …… but what is ”left wing” about Diane Abbott?

Is her position on Yarl’s Wood immigration detention center to be considered progressive and left wing for example? And that she critiscises her oponentants of talking about ”immigration” as if it was some generic term?

Talking about abortion in Northen Ireland? (Has she ever been there?)

14. Andy Burnham

Let’s be claear, if it ain’t white it ain’t right.

Bloody immigrants. Coming over here, pinching our jobs. As anybody who has read the Daily Express knows, it’s an outrage!!!

I am both indigenous AND ordinary. The job’s mine by birthright, whatever some golly wog like Abbot says (although I suppose like poor Carol Thatcher I’m not suppposed to call them that!)

BTW, did you hear the one about the asylum seeker and the cattle prod?

15. Mike Killingworth

All right, let’s suppose you’re a Labour MP. And there’s a leadership vacanacy.

Candidate X announces first and gets off to a flying start. Voices whisper in your ear that, when the time comes, X will remember those whose names stand high in the order in the list of his nominees.

Candidate Y comes from your corner of the country and considers himself to have a prescriptive right to the support of all regional MPs. A good hater, his backers speculate on whether those who don’t show localist solidarity will even get re-nominated by their parties. And your CLP chairwoman only beat that idiot Y-ist from the local poly (sorry, post-92 uni) by 3 votes last time.

And so on, and so on. What’s Lammy’s game? Obviously none of the leading candidates have offered him enough (or even anything) so he’s making a late – very late, don’t nominations close in a couple of days? – play for the “rainbow” vote, particularly strong in London. And if he backs Diane to-day he’s excused backing Oona for mayor to-morrow. That’s how this stuff works, you know.

All this guff about the future direction of the party overlooks the task in hand. We are choosing in effect the next Prime Minister. Anyone who can’t persuade 33 of their own work colleagues that they can hack it is hardly likely to persuade a wider audience.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. SQ Magazine

    RT @libcon: Exclusive: David Lammy to endorse Diane Abbott http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  2. David Skelton

    RT @sunny_hundal: David Lammy will nominate Diane Abbott for leader, urges others to do the same: http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  3. Antonia Bance

    Gracious! Less a numpty than I thought RT @sunny_hundal David Lammy will nominate Diane Abbott for leader http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  4. Tony Burkson

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  5. Rick Muir

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  6. Political Animal

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  7. Ben Folley

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  8. Jane Ayres

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  9. Lucinda Wells

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  10. Bham Labour Students

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  11. Benjamin Barton

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  12. Peter Kenyon

    Exclusive: David Lammy to nominate Diane Abbott | Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/aYWZV1 <- Hats off, we need 32 more like this;-)

  13. Sean Morton

    RT @PeterKenyon: Exclusive: David Lammy to nominate Diane Abbott | Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/aYWZV1 More like this please!

  14. Paris Gourtsoyannis

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  15. paulstpancras

    RT @PeterKenyon: Exclusive: David Lammy to nominate Diane Abbott | Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/aYWZV1 <- Hats off, we need 32 more lik

  16. DaveHill

    Lammy to nominate Abbott for leadership! http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/24/exclusive-david-lammy-to-endorse-diane-abbott/

  17. Guardian politics

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  18. Jill

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  19. Will Straw

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  20. Tim Pattison

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  21. Paul Sandars

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  22. Steve Padget

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  23. Christopher Mahon

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  24. Liberal Conspiracy

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  25. Christian DeFeo

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  26. Richard Lane

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  27. sunny hundal

    David Lammy will nominate Diane Abbott for leader, urges others to do the same: http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  28. sharif anderson

    RT @sunny_hundal: David Lammy will nominate Diane Abbott for leader, urges others to do the same: http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  29. Owain Gardner

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  30. Black Rod's Sheep

    RT @sunny_hundal: David Lammy will nominate Diane Abbott for leader, urges others to do the same: http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  31. Catherine Nicholls

    RT @libcon Exclusive: David Lammy to endorse Diane Abbott http://bit.ly/a9UdSg >Lammy asks others to follow suit & ensure a diverse contest

  32. Tweets that mention Exclusive: David Lammy to endorse Diane Abbott | Liberal Conspiracy -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy, Antonia Bance, Richard Lane, Tony Burkson, Catherine Nicholls and others. Catherine Nicholls said: RT @libcon Exclusive: David Lammy to endorse Diane Abbott http://bit.ly/a9UdSg >Lammy asks others to follow suit & ensure a diverse contest [...]

  33. Liberal Conspiracy

    David Lammy: 'To have a leadership election without a single woman involved would send a terrible signal' http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  34. Milena Buyum

    That's quite amazing RT @sunny_hundal: David Lammy will nominate Diane Abbott for leader, urges others to do the same: http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  35. Tank the Tories

    Yay. RT @antoniabance RT @sunny_hundal David Lammy will nominate Diane Abbott for leader http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  36. Anthony Painter

    RT @libcon: David Lammy: 'To have a leadership election without a single woman involved would send a terrible signal' http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  37. Political Animal

    RT @libcon Exclusive: David Lammy to endorse Diane Abbott http://bit.ly/a9UdSg <Opinion of the money soars about 400-fold. Which isn't hard.

  38. Kate Baldacchino

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  39. Dominic Campbell

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  40. The Election Blog

    RT @libcon: David Lammy: 'To have a leadership election without a single woman involved would send a terrible signal' http://bit.ly/a9UdSg

  41. Operation Black Vote

    David Lammy to nominate Diane Abbott http://is.gd/cn66l (via @LibCon) #dianeabbott #labourleader

  42. vikz

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  43. jennifer roberts

    RT @GdnPolitics: RT @DaveHill: Lammy to nominate Abbott for leadership! http://bit.ly/97rMil

  44. SOCIALIST UNITY » LAMMY NOMINATES DIANE ABBOTT AS POLLS PROVE SHE IS SERIOUS CANDIDATE

    [...] Liberal Conspiracy is now reporting that David Lammy has publicly declared that he is nominating Diane Abbott. Lammy said: “Ever since I was first elected to parliament I have called for a more diverse and representative political class. It would go against all that not to help Diane Abbott get on to the ballot paper now. To have a leadership election without a single woman involved would send a terrible signal. I would say to colleagues that lending someone your nomination is not the same as voting for a candidate in the final ballot. The question at this stage is whether we can have a more diverse field and an open discussion over the next few months. I think we should.” [...]





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