Diane Abbott is a seasoned politician with a distinguished political career spanning more than three decades. She belongs to the British Labour Party and has been a Member of Parliament (MP) from Hackney North and Stoke Newington. In 1987, she created history when she became the first black woman ever to be elected as an MP in the British Parliament. She has represented and won the Hackney North and Stoke Newington UK Parliament Constituency since 1987. In the 2017 general election, Diane Abbott defeated her nearest rival Amy Gray from the Conservative party by a margin of more than 35,000 votes. This was Diane Abbott’s best electoral victory, as she grabbed 75.1 percent of the total votes cast.
Early Life and Education
Diane Abbott was born on September 27, 1953 in Paddington, London. Her parents were of Jamaican descent and they had immigrated to England around 2 years prior to her birth. Her father, Reginald Abbott, worked as a welder and her mother, Julia Abbott, worked as a nurse. Diane Abbott did her schooling from Harrow County School for Girls, where she was the only black student. She later joined Newnham College at Cambridge University, where she majored in history.
Professional & Political Career
Diane Abbott started her professional career as an administrative trainee. This is a fast track route for acquiring senior posts in HM Civil Service at the Home Office. She worked as a trainee for two years, from 1976 to 1978, after which she served for two years at the National Council for Civil Liberties, working as a Race Relations Officer. After this, Abbott joined Thames Television, where she worked from 1980 to 1983, as a researcher and reporter. For the next two years, Abbott was with breakfast television company TV-am, working as a researcher. From 1985 to 1986, Abbott worked at the Greater London Council under Ken Livingstone, as a press officer. From 1986 to 1987, she worked at Lambeth Council, as Head of Press and Public Relations.
Abbott’s political career began in 1982 when she won the elections to Westminster City Council, where she served till 1986. She actively supported the Black Sections movement, whose primary mission was to achieve greater political representation for ethnic minorities. In 1987, she was elected as an MP, the first black women ever to become a member of the House of Commons. Over the years, Abbott has held various key posts.
- Oct 2010 – Oct 2013: Shadow Minister (Public Health)
- Sep 2015 – Jun 2016: Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
- Jun 2016 – Oct 2016: Shadow Secretary of State for Health
- Oct 2016: Shadow Home Secretary
Abbott had also served as a member of Labour Party National Executive Committee from Jan 1994 to Jan 1997. She has also been a member of various parliamentary committees such as Foreign Affairs: Entry Clearance Sub-Committee; Foreign Affairs Committee; Treasury Committee; Treasury & Civil Service Sub-Committee; and Treasury & Civil Service.