James Forsyth

John McDonnell pulls out of Labour leadership race in an effort to get Diane Abbott on the ballot

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John McDonnell’s decision to pull out of the Labour leadership contest should help Diane Abbott get the number of nominations required. But it is worth pointing out why so many Labour people at Westminster are not thrilled about this prospect despite the fact she would stop the contest from being between four embarrassingly similar figures.

Their fear is that Abbott—with her TV skills and fondness for one-liners—will spend the contest making jokes at the expense of the four white male Oxbridge special advisers turned politicians she is running against. She won’t win but the tags she applies to her opponents could stick, making it even more difficult for the new Labour leader to be taken seriously once he is elected.

In other Labour leadership, Andy Burnham has now got the 33 nominations he needs.