Diane Abbott became the first BAME member of Parliament to speak at the dispatch box at PMQs midday on Wednesday the 2nd of October, the second day into Black History Month.
This is not the first time Abbott has made history, as she became the first black woman ever elected as an MP in 1987. She has represented her constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington ever since and became the Shadow Home Secretary in October 2016.
This #BlackHistoryMonth we're inspired by the struggles of black campaigners, including the first black MPs elected in 1987.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 1, 2019
This October represents the 32nd anniversary of the establishment of Black History Month. First created in 1987, the year Abbott was elected as an MP, the month celebrates the contribution of black communities to British society. This year’s month is paying particular attention to the role and contributions of inspiring black women.
Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson didn’t face off at PMQs like they usually do as the Prime Minister was at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, so he asked the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to stand in his place. There is a standing precedent that if the Prime Minister cannot take PMQs, the Leader of the Opposition, in this case, Jeremy Corbyn, also gives way to one of their senior ministers. Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey have in the past stood in for Corbyn.
The Shadow Home Secretary asked questions about the language used by the Prime Minister around Brexit, abortion rights for women in Northern Ireland, former Thomas Cook workers and the so-called ‘rape clause’ for women claiming Universal Credit.
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) October 2, 2019
Dominic Raab paid tribute to Abbott for being the first black person to represent a party at PMQs and stated that he was proud that the Conservatives have had two female leaders.
He also said that it was the right decision not to intervene to save Thomas Cook and that the Work and Pensions Secretary would continue to look at the issue of the so-called ‘rape clause’.