Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has said there is no reason why Diane Abbott should not stand as MP and the row over her future was “not a great look”.

Ms Abbott’s said she wants to fight to retain her Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP seat “as long as it is possible” but had claimed she would not be able to stand.

The party whip was restored this week after it emerged an investigation into comments she made about racism had been completed in December 2023.

Deputy Labour leader Ms Rayner said “I don’t think there’s any reason” why Diane Abbott should not stand and the row over her future was “not a great look”.

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has repeatedly claimed no decision had been taken about Ms Abbott.

Ms Abbott had complained that doubts over her future, the suspension of Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who was MP for Brighton Kemptown and the decision not to endorse candidate Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and Woodford Green amounted to a “cull” of the Labour left.

Ms Rayner told the Guardian: “I don’t think it’s a purge.

“I don’t know the details of the individual cases but I do know that we put a robust system in place around vetting and dealing with serious allegations that are made in the party."

She told Sky News she did not think Keir was acting in a factional way and that the party would only succeed if it was a "broad church".

She added it was “not a great look with the way Diane was briefed against".

Ms Abbott, the first black woman elected to Parliament, had the Labour whip suspended in April 2023 after she suggested Jewish, Irish and Traveller people experience prejudice but not racism.

The whip was restored on Tuesday, but Ms Abbott said she was “dismayed” by reports that she could be barred as a candidate.

Ms Rayner told The Guardian “if Diane wanted to stand again, I don’t see any reason why she can’t”.

Speaking in Monmouthshire, Sir Keir denied he was removing left-wingers and said: “No decision has been taken to bar her and you have to remember that she was a trailblazer as an MP, she overcame incredible challenges to achieve what she achieved in her political career.

“She carved out a path for others to come into politics and she did all that whilst also being one of the most abused MPs across all political parties.

“But I’ve always had the aspiration that we will have the best quality candidates as we go into this election.”

Mr Russell-Moyle cannot stand in the July 4 election after being suspended by Labour over what he called a “vexatious and politically-motivated complaint” against him.

And Ms Shaheen is consulting lawyers after not being endorsed as the Labour candidate to take on former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.