Diane Abbott’s Retirement Plans

This morning Jewish News reported that four hard left Corbynite MPs may face selection battles within their local parties ahead of the next election. At the end of the article they also wrote “Party sources believe Diane Abbott… may have been ready to announce her retirement ahead of the next election.” Eyebrows were raised…

Responding to the piece, however, Diane’s now come out swinging, denying all such claims and writing on Facebook that “there is no truth to any rumours that I am about to retire”:

Shame – she’d have left the Commons at the same election as her lovely Jeremy…

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Diane Abbott Stumbled Through Friday Night Interview

Former Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, gave a memorable interview to Cathy Newman on Times Radio on Friday night, though she might want to forget it. In the toe-curling-to-listen-to clip, Diane was asked to “name one policy you would like Keir to embrace that he doesn’t already” and was unable to name a single policy she wants Keir to adopt. Guido suspects Diane will have needed another drink or two after that performance…

For over a minute Diane flailed and fumbled, barely able to form a coherent sentence. Thank goodness Times Radio didn’t ask Diane to do any maths…

Media outlets are always struggling for guests on Friday nights and Guido has learnt to turn them down if, as often is the case on a Friday, he is particularly well refreshed. Guido hopes Diane was feeling better on Saturday morning…

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WATCH: Diane Abbott Insists Keir Starmer Should Return to Corbynite Policies

Speaking on BBC News this morning, Diane Abbott repeatedly refused to credit Keir Starmer for Labour’s victory in Batley & Spen, instead only going so far as to praise “the Labour movement“:

“It’s a great result for the people who led the campaign on the ground…above all it’s a great result for Kim Leadbeater, and you know, we’re all very happy because we’re socialists…it’s a victory for the Labour movement, and the Labour movement is what it’s all about.”

Pressed on whether she now supported Sir Keir’s leadership, Diane pivoted to offering her sage policy advice:

“It would be a mistake, in my view, to abandon the policies in 2017 and 2019 that were so popular.”

If they were so popular, Guido wonders why she isn’t currently running the Home Office…

She then added:

“I will not do to Keir what some of the people supporting him did to Jeremy Corbyn”.

Guido’s old enough to remember when Diane was openly calling for Starmer to be replaced by Andy Burnham roughly six weeks ago…

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Lefties Who Want Labour to Lose in Batley & Spen

Polls are now open in the Batley & Spen by-election, and the Tories aren’t the only ones hoping they’ll storm to victory. In a rare moment of bipartisan consensus, the TrotsApp crowd are also quite openly banking on a Labour car-crash – and using it as an opportunity to ram through a more left-wing candidate in any looming leadership challenge. The Socialist Campaign Group are even reported to have met last night to discuss the best strategy for capitalising on the loss. Brace for crocodile tears over the result come tomorrow morning…

Inevitably Owen Jones is at the front of the pack. Ever since Labour lost in Hartlepool, Owen’s been beating the drum for a far-left takeover of the party, and now he’s made his big pitch:

“If Labour lose the Batley and Spen by election, Starmer will have to resign…if Keir Starmer resigns, then you need 20 MPs, and the left would then have a very good chance at putting a candidate forward. A lot of people would say John McDonnell would be the obvious candidate in that particular circumstance.”

Yes, John McDonnell is the man to help rebuild the Red Wall he helped destroy in 2019. Obviously. 

Team Novara’s not far behind, with Aaron Bastani saying Keir Starmer is now the worst person, at the worst moment, to lead the Labour Party, and claiming George Galloway “could leave Starmer staring into the abyss”. Ash Sarkar also declared “it would be disastrous to put Keir Starmer in post until the next general election”. It’s certainly been amusing to watch them all pretend they’re really unhappy about Galloway’s arrival…

Then there are the MPs. Diane Abbott’s already suggestedit must surely be curtains” for Starmer if Labour lose, Angela Rayner is doing her best to act like she’s not about to mount a leadership challenge, and even Lisa Nandy is thinking of giving it another go. And to think this by-election was all about “local issues”…

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Labour Left Begin Uniting Behind Burnham Leadership Bid

Yesterday afternoon Guido suggested there may be some Labour MPs secretly hoping Sir Keir loses the Batley & Spen by-election. Just 20 minutes later, a Diane Abbott Guardian op-ed was telling readers that failure in the key electoral test “must surely be curtains for him”. Appearing on Peston last night, Becky Long-Bailey didn’t deny moves to oust her former leadership rival, saying “There are going to have to be serious discussions”. For someone who’s spent so long obsessing over the PM’s interior design, is this curtains for Keir?

Diane ramps up the pressure, actively pointing the spotlight towards Andy Burnham and saying the Labour left would back a leadership challenge from him. Guido can reveal that recently-suspended Unite general secretary frontrunner Howard Beckett last night also backed Andy Burnham for the Labour leadership and told a Zoom audience “the sooner a leadership challenge comes the better”:

John Trickett – the first Labour MP out of the gates after Hartlepool to say a leadership challenge shouldn’t be ruled out – last night shared, then deleted, a tweet from Paul Waugh saying “Yes – it’ll go nuclear after Batley”

Jeremy Corbyn lasted only nine months before a leadership challenge. Sir Keir’s already gone over a year – perhaps that will be some sort of political legacy…

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LISTEN: Diane Abbott Claims Keir Starmer Doesn’t Have “A Winning Strategy”

After insisting yesterday that Labour should return to the barnstorming policy agenda that worked so well under Corbyn in 2019, Diane Abbott has once again offered her solution to Sir Keir’s woes this morning by claiming the party needs ‘a winning strategy’ and criticising last night’s reshuffle. Appearing on The Today Programme, Abbott said:

“We want a winning strategy. The strategy we have at the moment is not a winning strategy. And this reshuffle – I don’t want to be rude – but the reshuffle hasn’t been fantastically successful. Apart from anything else, because it was so drawn out, it took media attention away from some of our successes, like Tracy Brabin becoming the Mayor for West Yorkshire, like the great result in Wales. So we want to move forward, we want to unify, and we want Keir to talk about the policies that he promised party members.”

Of course, Diane knows all about winning strategies, having spent most of an election year trying to undermine her party’s deputy leader

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