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May 16, 2009

Diane Julie Abbott

Diane Julie Abbott (born 27 September 1953 in Paddington, London, England) is a British Labour Party Member of Parliament, representing the Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency. She was the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons when she was elected in the 1987 General Election. She remained the only black woman MP for ten years until she was joined in the Commons by Oona King in 1997. She has always been considered to the left of New Labour and is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group. In 2008, she was named one of the ten most powerful black women in Britain.

Abbott was born to Jamaican immigrants, her father a welder and her mother a nurse. She went to Harrow County Grammar School for Girls and then to Newnham College, Cambridge where she read history. After university she became a fast-tracked civil servant (1976 to 1978), and then a 'Race Relations Officer' at the National Council for Civil Liberties from 1978 to 1980. Amongst her colleagues at NCCL were Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt and Paul Boateng, all later becoming Labour Cabinet Ministers. continue reading /source

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