Saturday, 29 May 2010

Diane Abbott officially launches her bid to become leader of the Labour Party

Diane Abbott has promised to fight cuts to the public sector as she officially launched her bid to become leader of the Labour Party. The veteran backbencher also said Labour had to admit that the Iraq War was a "mistake" before it could move on.

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP said, "Unless we have a more open debate about public sector cuts, they will do to communities like Hackney what closing down the mines did to pit villages in Yorkshire and the Midlands under the last Tory government of Mrs Thatcher...I believe we need to look at the balance between public sector cuts and taxation."

Responding to suggestions by Tony Blair's and Gordon Brown's media advisor that Labour would not last five minutes in power under her leadership, she said: "I say to Alastair Campbell that if the Labour Party continues with his policies, the Labour Party will never be in power again."

Ms Abbott, one of the Labour rebels who opposed the Iraq war in 2003, said she was "sad and ashamed" by the former government's controversial decision to go to war. "We have to admit we have learnt the lessons. Until we admit these things we cannot move on as a party."