KEIR Starmer has been accused of telling a “brazen lie” and trying to “force Britain’s first black woman MP out of parliament” after it emerged that the internal Labour investigation into Diane Abbott finished months ago – despite his repeated claims it is still “ongoing”.

The Labour leader was caught out after the BBC reported that the internal probe into Abbott, sparked after she wrote a letter to The Observer suggesting that white minority groups do not experience “racism” like others do, had concluded in December 2023.

Newsnight presenter Victoria Derbyshire wrote on social media: “Abbott was required to do an online ‘anti-semitism course’ – which she did in Feb.

“Yet source says she still hasn’t been told if she can stand as a Labour candidate at election.”

Despite the internal probe having concluded months ago, Starmer has repeatedly claimed it is “ongoing” and that he cannot get involved when questioned on why Abbott has not had the Labour whip restored.

In March, Abbott found herself at the centre of a scandal after it emerged that Tory donor Frank Hester had said she should be “shot” and made him “want to hate all black women”.

Starmer capitalised on Hester’s comments to attack the Tories, but when asked if he would restore the whip to Abbott he said that was “subject to an ongoing investigation, which is separate from me”.

He added that the “independent process” was “not resolved”.

The Labour leader was further questioned on Abbott’s case last Friday, and said the decision on whether to restore the whip was for the National Executive Committee and would be made by June 4.

The National:

The revelation that the internal probe was actually completed months ago has led to Starmer (above) facing accusations of lying.

The left-wing Labour members’ group Momentum said: "This is outrageous news which confirms that the Starmer Leadership is trying to force Britain's first black woman MP out of Parliament.

“For months we have been told by Keir Starmer that the process is independent and it's nothing to do with him. Today's revelation confirms this is another brazen lie from Keir Starmer – the investigation was concluded months ago, Diane remains a Labour member and the whip should already have been restored as a result.”

The group added: “Starmer's conduct has already been insulting and demeaning to a woman he rightly called a trailblazer.”

SNP MP John Nicolson also criticised Starmer over the news, writing on social media: “Appalling treatment of [Abbott] by Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour leadership team.

“And we remember how he treated the 56 Labour MPs who voted for a #Gaza ceasefire motion.

“Big majorities lead to arrogant governments. If they’re this bad in opposition…”

Claudia Webbe, who was elected as a Labour MP but like Abbott now sits as an independent, said: “Labour is no longer a party for due process, fairness or justice.

“Its treatment of Diane Abbott is racism to the core; the regulation and control of black people, especially Black women on the left.

“They should hang their head in shame.”

National contributor Owen Jones said: “Keir Starmer has repeatedly told the public that the investigation into Diane Abbott is ongoing, so he can't get involved.

READ MORE: SNP will force vote on Palestinian statehood, John Swinney tells Tories and Labour

“That turns out to be yet another lie.

“Meanwhile his allies have been protected for behaviour ranging from racism to sexual harassment.”

Diane Abbott’s letter to The Observer, for which she lost the Labour whip, said: “Tomiwa Owolade claims that Irish, Jewish and Traveller people all suffer from 'racism' ('Racism in Britain is not a black and white issue. It’s far more complicated', Comment). They undoubtedly experience prejudice. This is similar to racism and the two words are often used as if they are interchangeable.

“It is true that many types of white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice. But they are not all their lives subject to racism. In pre-civil rights America, Irish people, Jewish people and Travellers were not required to sit at the back of the bus. In apartheid South Africa, these groups were allowed to vote. And at the height of slavery, there were no white-seeming people manacled on the slave ships.”

Labour told the BBC it would not comment on disciplinary matters.