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A close ally of Diane Abbot has urged her to “take some time” to consider whether she wants to stand for Labour at the general election.

Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti said the party’s treatment of her “dear friend” had been “appalling,” and she hit out at briefings she would be barred from running.

A bitter row over whether Labour would select its veteran MP as a candidate for the poll on 4 July has dominated the first week of campaigning.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said it “has to be Diane’s decision” to run, but she would support her if she did.

Ms Abbott, a shadow cabinet minister under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, is yet to confirm whether she wants to stand in the Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat she has represented since 1987.

Asked about a Sunday Times report that Ms Abbott was among Labour MPs offered peerages by the party to stand aside, Ms Cooper replied: “I don’t know anything about that”.

Leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Friday she would be free to stand for the party, after reports that the party’s ruling body would bar her from running.

It came after days of speculation that she would be blocked from being a candidate, despite being readmitted as a Labour MP earlier this week.

The move followed a 13-month investigation into Ms Abbott after she wrote in a letter to a newspaper that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people do not face racism “all their lives”.

Ms Abbott apologised and withdrew her remarks shortly after they were published.

Speaking to Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Baroness Chakrabarti said the week’s to-and-fro over whether she can stand had at times been “sordid”.

“It’s not good for Keir Starmer’s leadership, it’s not good for the Labour Party,” she added.

She hit out at “anonymous briefings by overgrown schoolboys in suits” for the newspaper reports she would be blocked, but added she had been “personally assured by the leadership” they had not been authorised by the party.

“I hope she will take some time to consider what she wants to do. That’s literally what I’ve suggested to her as her friend, and I hope that’s what she is going to do”.

Earlier this week, Ms Abbott said she wanted to stay on as Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP “as long as it is possible”.

But she has not said whether she will actually run for Labour since getting the green light to do so, with a party meeting to finalise Labour’s slate of candidates due to take place on Tuesday.

Before Sir Keir confirmed she could run, she had previously accused the party leadership of wanting to “exclude” her from Parliament.

Asked on Sky News whether she expected Ms Abbott to run, Ms Cooper replied: “I assume so, yes”.



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