Author: Benjamin Butterworth
Diane Abbott pays tribute to her Windrush immigrant parents as she’s honoured at Ethnicity Awards
The shadow home secretary said her parents “could never have dreamt that their little girl would be elected a British member of parliament”
Diane Abbott has paid tribute to her parents in an emotional speech as she won a major award recognising black and ethnic minority role models.
The shadow home secretary, who was the first black woman elected as an MP in 1987, said her parents “could never have dreamt that their little girl would be elected a British member of parliament.”
Her parents emigrated from Jamaica to Harrow, west London, in 1953 as part of the Windrush generation of migrants.
Abbott was honoured as public figure of the year at the HSBC Investing in Ethnicity Awards, held at London’s Waldorf Hilton hotel.
Stormzy, MOBO Awards founder Kanya King and Strictly Come Dancing2016 winner Ore Oduba were also among the winners.
Addressing a packed room of business leaders, celebrities and activists, Abbott said: “My parents are from the Windrush generation, and they could never have dreamt that their little girl would be a British member of parliament.
“The only thing I’ve ever wanted to do in politics is to be a voice for people who don’t have a voice.
“But also to assure that for young black women coming up after me, things will be better. And I hope I’ve made some progress in both of these things.”
Research around the 2017 general election found that Abbott had been subjected to more abuse than any other female MP in the run-up to the last general election.
Amnesty researchers found Abbott received 45 per cent of all abusive tweets sent to female MPs in the six weeks before election day.
Black and Asian female MPs received 35 per cent more abusive tweets than their white colleagues, even when Abbott personally was excluded from the total, the research found.
Founder of the awards, Sarah Garrett MBE, said: “It’s so important that celebrities, influencers, brands and those in the public eye recognise the importance of promoting black and ethnic minority talent particularly when people from this community can still be marginalised in many parts of life.
“These awards are about breaking down barriers and celebrating role models.”
Fiona Daniel, Head of Diversity and Inclusion UK at HSBC UK, who sponsored the awards, praised “the incredible work being done across the UK and more broadly” to improve representation of ethnic minorities.