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8 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

Will Harriet Harman’s nomination of Abbott lead to a late surge?

Acting leader lends support in attempt to widen the field.

By James Macintyre

The Labour leadership took a mini-twist this afternoon, albeit one that is not as unpredictable as all that, when Harriet Harman, the party’s acting leader, nominated Diane Abbott following reports that she may have to step aside because of less support than her rival on the left, John McDonnell.

Sources close to Harman say she hopes that undecided MPs — of whom there remain about 50 — will put aside their doubts about Abbott and nominate her before the process ends tomorrow in order to broaden the field of candidates for the sake of the party as a whole.

As I wrote earlier this week:

There are signs that there may yet be a surge in favour of Abbott once MPs have absorbed the social, ethnic and gender similarities behind the leading candidates.

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Whether that now happens, with 24 hours to go, depends on the uncertain question of the extent of Harman’s influence among her parliamentary colleagues.

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