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General election – latest: Unions call for Starmer to let Diane Abbott stand as MP

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Related: Starmer responds to Jeremy Corbyn standing as an independent candidate

Six unions have called for Diane Abbott to be allowed to stand in the general election as Sir Keir Starmer said the party has not yet decided if the veteran MP will be barred.

ASLEF, TSSA, Unite, NUM, CWU and FBU posted a letter demanding Ms Abbott be allowed to stand at the upcoming general election, following a morning of speculation about her future.

The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington had the party whip restored on Tuesday after she was suspended last April over a letter she wrote in The Observer suggesting Jewish people are not subjected to the same racism as some other minorities.

Keir Starmer faced backlash over his treatment of the veteran MP with charities accusing the party of double standards and racism.

During his campaign trail in Devon, Rishi Sunak has urged Sir Keir Starmer to clear the air and explain Labour’s position over the row.

Meanwhile, the two major party leaders are set to go head-to-head on a televised ITV election debate on June 4, but Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has said that he should have been invited too.

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Pictured: Keir Starmer meets trainee medics in Worcester

Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Wes Streeting speaks during a Labour general election campaign event in Worcester
Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Wes Streeting speaks during a Labour general election campaign event in Worcester (REUTERS)
Starmer takes a selfie with student nurses and trainee medics following a Q&A session during a visit to Three Counties Medical School
Starmer takes a selfie with student nurses and trainee medics following a Q&A session during a visit to Three Counties Medical School (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
(Getty Images)

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 13:38

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‘Diane Abbott treated in a vindictive, factional and cruel,’ Labour MP slams

Beth Winter has said although she welcomes the party’ decision to restore Diane Abbott’s whip, the veteran MP has been treated in a “vindictive, factional and cruel” way.

The MP for Cynon Valley is urging Keir Starmer to let Ms Abbott decide whether she wants to stand at the election.

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 13:30

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Health minister urges Labour to condemn junior doctors strike

Tory MP Victoria Atkins has called the Labour party to condemn junior doctors strike during the election campaign.

Taking to social media, she said the wave of strikes from June 27 to July 2 coincides with “Labour’s heath day” and it was politically motivated.

She added: “This Conservative government has taken the tough decisions to keep public spending down to bear down on inflation, which is now back to normal.

“Labour would be in the hands of their union paymasters – meaning more spending and higher taxes.”

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 13:24

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Comment | A desperate attempt to neutralise the threat of Reform UK

He writes: “The promise of a tax cut for pensioners is the latest policy aimed squarely at the over-65s. It is a small tax cut, worth possibly £300 a year by the end of the next parliament, and it is complicated – a pledge to raise the income-tax personal allowance for pensioners so that anyone relying on a state pension alone won’t be dragged into paying tax.”

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 13:21

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Beleaguered Tories finally come out on top with voters – but only on campaign slogan

After a difficult start to the general election Rishi Sunak has finally come ahead of Keir Starmer in one crucial area in the polls.

The Conservatives are currently trailing Labour by between 12 and 27 points according to diffierent opinion polls published over the last 24 hours but one poll puts them ahead.

Our political editor David Maddox has more:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 May 2024 13:03

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Nigel Farage hints at deal with Rishi Sunak

Nigel Farage has hinted at a deal with Rishi Sunak to make him stop campaigning against the Conservatives, Archie Mitchell reports.

The Reform UK honorary president has highlighted “huge favours” he did for the Tories in the past and asked “what are they going to do back for me?”

Asked about whether he would accept a peerage to go away, Mr Farage told The Sun’s Never Mind the Ballots he had turned down “all that rubbish” in the past.

But he said: “I got rid of Mrs May with the Brexit Party. I stood aside for Boris to help him win a massive majority.

“What are they going to do back for me? I’m not asking them for anything other I’ve done them some huge favours over the years as a party.

“Give me something back. We might have a conversation.”

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 12:48

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Six unions call on Starmer to let Diane run as a Labour MP

Several unions are demanding Keir Starmer to provide a clear update on the future of Diane Abbott.

ASLEF, TSSA, Unite, NUM, CWU and FBU have posted a letter allowing the veteran MP to stand at the general election.

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 12:35

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Breaking: ‘Diane Abbott not barred from standing for Labour,’ Starmer says

Sir Keir Starmer has said that Diane Abbott has not been blocked from standing for Labour at the election.

Asked by the press to clear out questions surrounding the row after reports emerged claiming she would not be able to stand as a party candidate.

Starmer replied: “No, that’s not true. No decision has been taken to bar Diane Abbott.

“The process that we were going through ended with the restoration of the whip the other day.”

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 12:15

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Starmer accuses Sunak of disrespecting NHS

Blaming the Tories for 14 years of NHS “chaos”, the Labour leader said the prime minister needs to take responsibly for issues like waiting lists.

He says: “We need to lift the workforce up. There are things you can do straight away, like respect and dignity of the workforce. And I don’t know what you feel, but if I were you and working in the NHS, and I had the prime minister simply blaming the NHS for the problems, rather than taking responsibility as a prime minister, it would go a long way.

“Because you can’t sort of clap our carers and key workers during the pandemic and then turn round when you’re challenged – as the prime minister does on the NHS – and say it’s not my fault, it’s the NHS staff. That is really disrespectful.”

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 12:00

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Labour plans to train more GPs

The Labour leader says cutting waiting lists will tackle burnout among the workforce.

He also claims cutting waiting lists will also help with retention.

Keir Starmer adds: “There are plans now in place for the next generation of staff to come through… one of the problems we’ve had with the NHS is of course it takes time to train people.

“So politicians say, well, we won’t do that. We won’t put enough emphasis there. We’ll just do other sticking plaster fixes that don’t work. You’ve got to do the hard yards of training for the next generation to come through.”

Salma Ouaguira29 May 2024 11:54

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