Diane Abbott has joined a list of Labour candidates running for London Mayoralty in 2016.
The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington had previously been reluctant to declare her candidacy but on Sunday broke her silence.
Notable Labour figures running for mayor include Tottenham MP David Lammy and journalist Christian Wolmar. Tessa Jowell, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, has not formally announced her candidacy but has said that she is working on a bid.
The three confirmed candidates criticised Labour’s selection process last month, arguing that the short timetable would prevent candidates from being effectively scrutinised. However this does not appear to have put Abbott off running.
She told ITV London on Sunday: “ A great many people have been pressing me for some time to throw my hat in the ring and in the end I decided that because London needs a genuinely independent candidate, London needs a candidate that will fight to make London more affordable for ordinary Londoners.”
Abbott recently distanced herself from the Labour leadership on issues such as the housing crisis and immigration. She had been sacked as shadow public health minister in October last year for supposed disloyalty to the party leadership.
She said: “I also think London needs a voice that will stand up against some of the anti-immigrant propaganda that we’re hearing.”
“I want to be a unifying candidate and I want to be a candidate that runs a pluralistic campaign. I think the campaign is absolutely wide open.”
Applications for London Mayor open on May 15, 2016.