EXCL Row as Jeremy Corbyn 'appoints Diane Abbott to Labour's ruling body'

Posted On: 
23rd January 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of ignoring Labour rules to appoint Diane Abbott to the party's ruling body.

Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn are longstanding political allies.
PA Images

PoliticsHome has learned that the Shadow Home Secretary has replaced Kate Osamor on the party's National Executive Committee.

Ms Osamor had to stand down from the NEC after quitting as Shadow International Development Secretary following a row over what she knew about her son's conviction for drug offences.

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She had been one of three Shadow Cabinet representatives on Labour's top decision-making body.

Labour's rule book states that the NEC must include "three frontbench Members of Parliament, at least one of whom must be a woman, nominated by the Cabinet (or Shadow Cabinet in opposition)".

But despite that, two senior members of the Shadow Cabinet have told PoliticsHome they were not informed of the decision to put Ms Abbott on the NEC.

It is also understood that Ms Abbott's appointment was not known to other members of the NEC until she telephoned in to a meeting of the ruling body on Tuesday morning to take part in a vote.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn confirmed that the Shadow Home Secretary had replaced Ms Osamor, but did not respond to questions about whether she was nominated by the Shadow Cabinet, or whether it was the Labour leader's decision alone.

The other two Shadow Cabinet representatives on the NEC are Jon Trickett and Rebecca Long-Bailey, who are also close allies of Mr Corbyn.

A Labour source said: "This exposes the sham of Labour party democracy. If Jeremy cannot consult the Shadow Cabinet about using their constitutional powers, what chance have the membership got in being listened to on Brexit?"

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "It's effectively the appointment of the leader, but it has the support of the Shadow Cabinet and was done in the usual way."

Diane Abbott is currently embroiled in a row with the BBC over claims she was mistreated while appearing on Question Time last week.