Diane Abbott – 2024 First Speech as Mother of the House

The speech made by Diane Abbott in the House of Commons on 9 July 2024.

I congratulate the Speaker-Elect on his election. He has been Speaker through tumultuous times, but he has never failed to serve with grace, expertise and fairness. I also congratulate the 304 new Members entering Parliament after the election, and say to them: it is a great job, and you will never regret coming here. I congratulate the officers of the House, who have organised such a meticulous and careful induction. When I was a new MP, they just gave you a bunch of keys and told you to get on with it.

When I was a new Member in 1987, there were only 40 female Members of Parliament. Today, we have 264. Some of us are glad that we have lived to see this. I cannot speak about the increased number of female Members of Parliament without referencing my predecessor, Baroness Harriet Harman, who did so much work to have an equal and diverse House.

We are going into very tumultuous times. Historically, the House has played a role in events both national and international. I am sure that it will be the same going forward, and that we will be presided over excellently by the Speaker-Elect.