Is it a good thing that Diane Abbott has joined the Labour leadership race?

And who else should throw their hat in the ring?

My column in this week's New Statesman examines the Labour leadership race and says that it's time for the two Eds, Miliband Sr and Andy Burnham to "come clean" on their views. As Jon Cruddas has pointed out, do we really know what they stand for? What they believe?

I also have a lighter piece in today's Guardian G2 proclaiming my delight at the decision by Diane Abbott to put herself forward as a candidate for the Labour leadership:

Hooray for Diane Abbott! I never thought I'd write those words. I've been ultra-critical of her in recent days, dismissing Abbott as one of the unreconstructed Labour tribalists who had scuppered any prospects of a post-election deal with the Liberal Democrats and a new "rainbow coalition" of the centre left.

But how grateful I am to the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington for entering the Labour leadership race. And to John McDonnell, the secondary-school dropout and son of a bus driver. So far the contest has resembled a City boardroom. Two Eds. Two brothers. Plus Andy Burnham. All of them white, male, fortysomething, Oxbridge graduates.

Was this the best Labour could do, 81 years after the appointment of the first woman cabinet minister, 35 years after the Conservative Party elected a female leader and 23 years after the arrival of the first four ethnic-minority MPs in parliament? Could no suitable female or non-white candidates be found among the 258-strong Parliamentary Labour Party? Perhaps the party needed to appoint itself a diversity czar.

Don't get me wrong. David Miliband, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham are all talented candidates. But I can't pretend I wasn't disappointed by the glaring lack of diversity on offer in Labour's first leadership contest for 16 years.

For the record, I didn't pick the headline ("Why I'm glad Diane Abbott has entered the race") and I'm not an Abbott supporter. Nor do I think she has any chance of actually winning.

But here is my question to all of you: are you satisfied with the current crop of Labour leadership candidates? If not, who else would you like to see throw their hat in the ring?

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows again that Brexit means hard Brexit

The Prime Minister's promise of "an end to free movement" is incompatible with single market membership. 

Theresa May, it is commonly said, has told us nothing about Brexit. At today's PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn ran with this line, demanding that May offer "some clarity". In response, as she has before, May stated what has become her defining aim: "an end to free movement". This vow makes a "hard Brexit" (or "chaotic Brexit" as Corbyn called it) all but inevitable. The EU regards the "four freedoms" (goods, capital, services and people) as indivisible and will not grant the UK an exemption. The risk of empowering eurosceptics elsewhere is too great. Only at the cost of leaving the single market will the UK regain control of immigration.

May sought to open up a dividing line by declaring that "the Labour Party wants to continue with free movement" (it has refused to rule out its continuation). "I want to deliver on the will of the British people, he is trying to frustrate the British people," she said. The problem is determining what the people's will is. Though polls show voters want control of free movement, they also show they want to maintain single market membership. It is not only Boris Johnson who is pro-having cake and pro-eating it. 

Corbyn later revealed that he had been "consulting the great philosophers" as to the meaning of Brexit (a possible explanation for the non-mention of Heathrow, Zac Goldsmith's resignation and May's Goldman Sachs speech). "All I can come up with is Baldrick, who says our cunning plan is to have no plan," he quipped. Without missing a beat, May replied: "I'm interested that [he] chose Baldrick, of course the actor playing Baldrick was a member of the Labour Party, as I recall." (Tony Robinson, a Corbyn critic ("crap leader"), later tweeted that he still is one). "We're going to deliver the best possible deal in goods and services and we're going to deliver an end to free movement," May continued. The problem for her is that the latter aim means that the "best possible deal" may be a long way from the best. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.