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27 May 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

Kiss of death for Labour’s most leftist candidates?

John McDonnell and Dianne Abbott receive some dubious support.

By James Macintyre

Who are supporting Labour’s “left-wing” candidates, and why?

John McDonnell has won nominations from Frank Field and Kate Hoey. Both are the subject of Tory dreams that they may defect. Both were in on the obscure plot by the Tory right to unseat John Bercow as Speaker. And the Tory-Liberal poverty tsar Field, let’s not forget, is the one Labour figure who joined Tory diehards in urging Margaret Thatcher to stay on at No 10 in 1990.

Abbott, meanwhile, has a number of serious nominations from thoughtful, mainstream Labour people such as David Lammy (though I gather some of the people nominating her will vote for other candidates, as is their right). Yet she has also received symbolic endorsement from a Telegraph writer, who says:

I hope Diane Abbott becomes Labour leader because, unlike so many politicians, she did something beautiful: she put her family above her ridiculous politics.

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Now, as it happens, I unfashionably agree that Labour MPs should not be judged badly if they send their kids to private school — as long as they do not attack those who do (as Abbott did in the case of Harriet Harman and Tony Blair). But I do think it worth thinking about some people’s motives when they declare who they are “backing” in this contest.

After all, if you judge a man by his friends . . .

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