About Diane

Diane Abbott MP

In 1987 Diane Abbott made history by becoming the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. She has since built a distinguished career as a parliamentarian, broadcaster and commentator.

Born in London in 1953, she attended the Harrow County grammar school and went on to Newnham College Cambridge where she obtained a Masters degree in history.

Upon leaving Cambridge, Diane joined Government as a Home Office Civil Servant. She went on to work for the lobby group the National Council for Civil Liberties, before moving into journalism. She worked extensively as a freelancer and then as a reporter for the breakfast television company TV-AM and Thames Television, as well as working as a public relations consultant.

In 2008 Diane was awarded the Spectator / Threadneedle Speech of the Year Award and a Human Rights Award from Liberty.
Diane is founder of the London Schools and the Black Child initiative, which aims to raise educational achievement levels amongst Black children.

In Parliament
From the outset of her career, Diane has championed global justice, human rights, peace and security issues at home and abroad. She has been a vocal campaigner around race-relations, transparency and justice around policing, surveillance, Stop and Search, and detainment without trial. 

She was elected on to the National Executive of the Labour Party and, for most of the 1990s, served on the Treasury Select Committee. As a member of this committee she helped author a series of official reports around issues including Britain’s entry into the Euro. She went on to serve on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee as Shadow Public Health Minister.

In 2015, Diane was re-elected to her Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency with a landslide majority and, in September 2015, was appointed Shadow Secretary for International Development. Diane became Shadow Secretary for Health in June 2016 before serving as the first black female Shadow Home Secretary until earlier this year. Diane also Chairs the British-Caribbean All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and the APPG for Sickle Cell and Thalassemia.