Abbott’s bid for Mayor of London

Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott - Credit: Diane Abbott - submitted

Veteran leftwinger Diane Abbott has confirmed that she is a contender to become Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London.

The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington said that she would run as a “genuinely independent candidate” while standing up to “anti-immigrant propaganda”.

“A great many people have been pressing me for some time to throw my hat in the ring and in the end I decided that because London needs a genuinely independent candidate, London needs a candidate that will fight to make London more affordable for ordinary Londoners,” she said.

“A key issue is the cost of housing. House prices have spiralled way above average incomes, rents are the highest in the country and Londoners pay a bigger proportion of their income in rents than anyone else in the UK.

“Some people argue that high housing costs are a simple matter of supply, which can be fixed by building on the green belt or creating new garden cities.

“I will be arguing for more fundamental measures, including allowing councils to borrow to build”.

Ms Abbott - who unsuccessfully contested the Labour leadership in 2010 - joins Tottenham MP David Lammy and transport expert Christian Wolmar in declaring her intention to seek the Labour nomination for the mayoral election in 2016.

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Former culture secretary Dame Tessa Jowell has also indicated that she intends to throw her hat into the ring.