Exclusive: Diane Abbott has made it on to the ballot

UPDATE: Straw last MP to sign +++ Historic moment as Labour’s big guns come together to broaden fiel

Diane Abbott will within minutes be in a position to declare she has the 33 nominations to feature on the ballot for the Labour leadership, to be decided in September, NS.com has learned.

David Miliband has in the past hour nominated her, joining other big party figures such as Harriet Harman and, before her, David Lammy. The remaining MPs required are signing her nominations during Prime Minister's Questions.

"This is about the party coming together," said one MP inside the Abbott camp. "This is a historic moment, less because she is a woman and more because she is the first black contender for the leadership."

Here is how I explained earlier in the week how Abbbott, though behind, might yet make it.

UPDATE: Jack Straw has just become the last MP to sign for Abbott.

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James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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