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Left-wing MP Diane Abbott booted off Labour front bench

Ms Abbott makes pledge to intensify key back bench issues

Labour leader Ed Miliband sacked prominent left-winger Diane Abbott from his front bench health team yesterday.

Ms Abbott immediately pledged to intensify her campaigning for the people of her Hackney constituency and to speak out strongly from the back benches on key issues.

She was called to Mr Miliband's office yesterday morning to be told that she was losing her job as shadow public health minister in his front bench reshuffle.

Liverpool MP Luciana Berger, who is a member of construction union Ucatt, is replacing her.

Ms Abbott expressed regret that she would no longer be working with shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

"He took the fight to the Tories on health in a way that had never happened before," she said.

Ms Abbott added that she despaired at the "downward spiral of Labour's rhetoric on immigration."

And she fired a broadside against Trident nuclear weapons.

"If we have to make cuts, why is Trident untouchable? Scrapping the Trident replacement would save £34 billion. You could protect a lot of public sector jobs with that money."

Last month she wrote a Labour conference article in the Morning Star expressing strong support for the party's trade union link and voicing scepticism about Mr Miliband's plans to weaken it.

Ms Abbott became Britain's first black woman MP in 1987, and stood unsuccessfully for the Labour leadership in 2010.

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