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Diane Abbott ‘appreciation night’ sees veteran Hackney MP honoured at Queen of Hoxton for ‘breaking glass ceiling’

PUBLISHED: 10:52 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:27 26 June 2017

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott speaks at her 'appreciation night' at the Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Stefan Foster

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott speaks at her 'appreciation night' at the Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Stefan Foster

Stefan Foster | STFNDOCS

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott was honoured at an “Abbott appreciation night” to commemorate her 30 years in Parliament.

Stephanie Ozuo presents Diane Abbott with a hamper during the MP's 'appreciation night' at the Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Stefan Foster Stephanie Ozuo presents Diane Abbott with a hamper during the MP's 'appreciation night' at the Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Stefan Foster

Stephanie Ozuo, a 22-year-old IT consultant from south London, planned the night at the Queen of Hoxton in response to the backlash Ms Abbott faced after interview blunders and her temporary replacement as shadow home secretary.

Labour MPs Keith Vaz and Clive Lewis joined young performers and 100 guests at the event on Wednesday.

Jermain Jackman, winner of The Voice UK, dedicated a performance of You Raise Me Up to Ms Abbott. He said she had inspired him to get into politics, which he is now studying at university – alongside his work to boost opportunities for young people in Islington with the Fair Futures Commission.

Mr Vaz, also an MP of three decades, told the crowd: “Diane broke the glass ceiling. Everything she has done in the last 30 years, she has taken steps no one else was able to take.”

Ms Abbott entered the venue to cheers and applause.

"We have come here to really show you our appreciation and how much we love you. I, as a black woman, cannot tell you how much this means to me"

Event organiser Stephanie Ozuo

She told the room: “I will make it better for black women who come after me.

“It was a hard campaign. People always talk about strong black women and I’m sick of hearing that because everyone is human.”

Addressing the interview blunders that saw her vilified by the right-wing press, such as not being able to cost Labour’s flagship policy on police numbers, she said: “I cannot say I did everything right but I’ve always tried and I’m still here.”

The event organiser Ms Ozuo broke down when meeting Ms Abbott, giving a tearful speech on stage and presenting her with a hamper paid for by donations.

“We have come here to really show you our appreciation and how much we love you. I, as a black woman, cannot tell you how much this means to me,” she said.

Keith Vaz MP speaks at the 'Diane Abbott appreciation night' at the Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Stefan Foster Keith Vaz MP speaks at the 'Diane Abbott appreciation night' at the Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Stefan Foster

In the end, despite negative publicity and her last-minute replacement as shadow home secretary for health reasons, Ms Abbott was returned with 42,265 votes – a majority of 35,139.

Asked for her reaction to the support, she said: “It’s very moving.

“I can’t put it into words. It’s meant a lot to me, even during the campaign.”

1 comment

  • sad facts are that Diane Abbot would not be an MP in any other constituency. She would be out on her racist ear. Its racist that she is in her post because she is black. She believes West Indian mothers are better than white. She believes that the British State is bad. She is everything that is wrong about politics. GUess what? There are as many black people in the UK as there are Welsh born. THere are more black people in music, arts, media, the news. There are black people in Eaastenders, Emmerdale, Doctors, Coronation St and so on, no Welsh people. We too are an ethnic minority but we dont spend all our time bleating about being mistreated. Gun and knife crime is absolutely rife in Hackney and its statistically proven to be a black crime. The community in Hackney blames the police, anyone it can rather than itself. Get a grip, man up and get on with your lives. Yours sincerely, an ethnic minority Welshman who doesnt spend the day complaining.

    Report this comment

    Kevin Roberts

    Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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