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Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 12:07 UK
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Diane Abbott
Diane Abbott - a serial rebel

Diane Abbott was a regular on the This Week sofa alongside Michael Portillo until the summer of 2010.

As a candidate, she had to stand aside for several of our extra appearances through the 2010 general election period - when This Week was actually on twice a week.

And then Diane once more had to limit her appearances through the Labour leadership election campaign.

So she and her four rivals - in the name of fairness - all had one week each in her usual seat next to Michael.

She was back with us briefly in September 2010 as we returned after the summer recess, but soon was called to join the Labour front bench, and so could no longer appear on This Week.

Although many fans - and even those who liked to oppose her political views - keep telling us they are missing Diane and asking when she is coming back.

However, she is unlikely to re-appear as a regular on the This Week sofa.

'Severely restricted'

A spokesman for This Week said: "When Diane finally left, we did mention on the show that this was because she had decided to take a job as part of Labour's front-bench.

"As such, she will now be severely restricted in what she can and cannot say on political issues - as a result of the convention on 'collective responsibility' - meaning that she will no longer have the same freedom to comment that she previously enjoyed as a backbencher."

Diane was born in London in 1953, the daughter of a Jamaican welder and a nurse, Diane was Britain's first black woman MP.

She worked at the Home Office, the National Council for Civil Liberties and Thames TV before entering Parliament as a Labour MP at the 1987 general election.

She became known as a feisty firebrand, and lit up the Commons Treasury select committee with her relentless questioning.

Her straight manner was never better expressed than in a comment to the then governor of the Bank of England, Sir Edward George: "You're just an inflation nutter, aren't you?"

She was one of the first Labour MPs openly to criticise Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair's close confidant, famously calling him a source of "poison" in the government. Diane isn't afraid to step out of party line and is a serial rebel against the government.

As a pupil at Harrow County Grammar School, Diane appeared as Lady Macduff in a performance that was notable for also starring Michael Portillo.




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