Diane Abbott steps aside as shadow home secretary indefinitely over ill health

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Diane Abbott has stepped down temporarily from her role as shadow home secretary because of ill health.

The close ally of Jeremy Corbyn pulled out of two election events yesterday following a series of difficult interviews.

Today Corbyn, who was campaigning in Glasgow, said Lyn Brown would fill in while Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

When asked for how long Abbott would be out of action, Corbyn told the BBC: “I’ll be talking to her later on today – she’s not well at the moment.

“Of course Diane is somebody that works extremely hard and represents her community very well and I have to say has received totally unfair levels of attack and abuse not just recently – over many years.”

Abbott has been due to appear at a BBC Woman’s Hour hustings this week but was replaced fairly late on by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.

She also pulled out of the Evening Standard hustings, which prompted editor George Osborne to write on Twitter: “Diane Abbott has pulled out of hustings. It’s not like someone who wants to be Home Sec has much to talk about these days.”

Today a statement from the Labour Party said: “Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, has asked Lyn Brown to stand in for Diane Abbott as Shadow Home Secretary for the period of her ill health.”

Brown, who is seeking re-election in West Ham, was among dozens of MPs who stood down from the frontbench last summer. She quit as a shadow home office minister in July saying the party had reached a “tipping point” and needed a new leader.

 

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