The problem with Diane Abbott

Yes, she’s a woman. But she’s not credible.

I thought I was dreaming when I heard Diane Abbott declaring for the Labour leadership this morning. The move was unexpected, though welcome, as it widens the field. And it is indeed good to have a woman on the ballot paper.

However, it is less clear whether her candidacy -- which is not likely to fly -- will ultimately help the cause of women in politics. Abbott is not highly valued in the Labour Party.

Here is my quote for the day, from the excellent new Labour Uncut website:

It is a shame . . . that MPs will be forced to choose between having a woman in the election, which most would like to see, and having Diane Abbott in the election, which most do not want to see.

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James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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What did Jeremy Corbyn really say about Bin Laden?

He's been critiqued for calling Bin Laden's death a "tragedy". But what did Jeremy Corbyn really say?

Jeremy Corbyn is under fire for describing Bin Laden’s death as a “tragedy” in the Sun, but what did the Labour leadership frontrunner really say?

In remarks made to Press TV, the state-backed Iranian broadcaster, the Islington North MP said:

“This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.”

He also added that it was his preference that Osama Bin Laden be put on trial, a view shared by, among other people, Barack Obama and Boris Johnson.

Although Andy Burnham, one of Corbyn’s rivals for the leadership, will later today claim that “there is everything to play for” in the contest, with “tens of thousands still to vote”, the row is unlikely to harm Corbyn’s chances of becoming Labour leader. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.