Nine student leaders across London have backed Diane Abbott’s bid to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor in an open letter to the New Statesman.
Abbott, a long-time ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is in a three-way battle with Tessa Jowell, the bookies’ favourite, and Sadiq Khan.
The Hackney North MP said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this support from student leaders, enthused by my record of voting against tuition fees and commitment to bring back EMA and take a clear stand for ordinary Londoners against the Tory Government’s austerity agenda.”
She claimed her campaign was “gaining momentum”. The Abbot campaign should receive a boost thanks to its close association with the popular Corbyn.
The full letter is below:
As students and student leaders from across London, we’re coming together to support Diane Abbott’s campaign to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor in 2016.
Diane’s record is of tirelessly standing up for students, in good times and bad. She has consistently fought against fees for university students, most recently leading the campaign within Parliament against the raising of fees to £9,000 per year. She’s the only MP candidate to have never voted for tuition fees and to always support free education. She voted with further education students and their families against the government abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), and we welcome her pledge to introduce a London EMA if elected.
The truth is that too many young and lifelong learners Londoners face barriers accessing education in our city. This threatens London’s continuing economic and cultural success. Tory Mayor Boris Johnson has utterly failed to stand up for students. Diane has fought relentlessly against Tory attacks on education whether slashing of maintenance grants or attempts to deport international students – she has stood with us. We need Diane as Mayor as she will be an uncompromising friend to students and defend education.
But students also need a Mayor who will inspire us. Young people aren’t apathetic, but we’re disillusioned with the current state of politics. Diane is always true to her word: that’s her character. Her experience speaks for itself, and her commitment to make London a beacon in the fight against climate change, for greater equality and for global peace and justice. For us, Diane is the candidate we trust, and we urge fellow students to back her.
Shelly Asquith, NUS Vice President Welfare
Shakira Martin, NUS Vice President for Further Education
Malia Bouattia, NUS National Black Students’ Officer
Mostafa Rajaai, NUS International Students’ Officer
Siddo Dwyer, London Young Labour BME Representative
Arame Myriam Kane – Lewisham and Southwark College Student Union President
Tom King, Co-President Welfare and Campaigns SOAS (pc)
Aaron Kiely, Student Assembly Against Austerity National Committee
Ben Hayes, Student Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament (CND)