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Speaker Biography

Diane Abbott MP

 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.

Diane was born in London in 1953. She attended the grammar school Harrow County and then went on to Newnham College Cambridge where she obtained a Masters degree in history.

When she left Cambridge University Diane joined Government as a Home Office Civil Servant. She went on to work for the lobby group the National Council for Civil Liberties, then she became a journalist. She worked extensively as a freelancer and she went on to work as a reporter for the breakfast television company TV-AM and Thames Television. And she also worked as a public relations consultant for various public sector clients.

In Parliament
Diane has served on a number of parliamentary committees on social and international issues. She was also elected on to the National Executive of the Labour Party. For most of the 1990's she also served on the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons. This is the committee which deals with business and finance matters. As a member of this committee Diane travelled frequently to Washington DC, New York, Frankfurt and other financial centres. She met with senior politicians, bankers and financial regulators internationally and she helped to author a series of official reports on issues such as Britain's entry into the Euro. She went on to serve on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. As a member of that committee she travelled to Kenya, Uganda, China, Hong Kong and many countries in Europe. She took a particular interest in human rights. Most recently she has set up a special parliamentary committee investigating gun crime.

Diane is an experienced public speaker and broadcaster. She has spoken at colleges and universities all over the United States including Ivy League universities like Harvard. She also appears regularly on radio and television. Her most recent appearances include hosting a phone-in show for LBC radio, presenting a programme on the Treasury for BBC Radio 4 and regular appearances on the BBC1 late night political discussion show with Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo MP.