Diane Abbott and unpaid interns

How many, if any at all, does she have?

We wrote a week or so ago that the number of unpaid interns she has/has had at one time could reach double figures. This was based on various conversations we have had with interns and ex-interns over the past year. Abbott’s name kept cropping up when we asked about high numbers of interns working for MPs (along with Lib Dem Simon Hughes), and adverts like this certainly don’t dispel these doubts.

The blog Blood and Property got in touch with Diane and asked her how many unpaid interns she has…

At the moment, Diane has no unpaid interns. The allegation that she has ‘nearly 10′ is completely untrue. Her last intern was paid the minimum wage. You will notice that the accusation made of Diane in the blog postings are completely unsubstantiated.

I would suggest that other people working in Portcullis House, where many MPs have offices, may have tallied the number of different non-pass-holders entering her office and assumed that they were all interns. Diane has a more diverse range of staff and guests than most MPs, so the people at her office are noticeable.

Diane does have several people volunteering for her leadership campaign (some of whom come to see her at parliamentary office for reasons of convenience). Her leadership campaign must be funded and staffed independently of her parliamentary expenses and volunteers work out of her campaign office in Hampsted on a day-to-day basis.

In order to get to the bottom of this we need to hear from ex Diane Abbott interns. Have you been one? Where you paid? What was your experience like? And most important of all, how many other interns worked for her? Please get in touch here.

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1 Response to “Diane Abbott and unpaid interns”

  1. 1 Pat Duggan 08/04/2010 at 7:11 am

    I think the important words here are “at the moment” as in “at the moment, Diane has no unpaid interns” because she has in the past, and is damn sure to dso so in the future when the spotlight is off.

    I asked Diane about her use of unpaid workers in August last year, when she wasn’t quite so keen to sign up for pledges which make her look good while she fights an election. She had this advert out at the time:

    working for Diane Abbott MP (Hackney North & Stoke Newington)
    salary There will be no salary, however expenses for lunch and travel will be reimbursed
    details Reporting to the Office Manager – duties are as follows:
    Answering the telephone, taking messages, opening post, filing, photocopying, correspondence, attending advice sessions, general office junior duties.
    closes 28 August 2009
    contact All applicants should send in a CV with a covering letter/e-mail. Please address to Sonia John-Lewis at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or johnlewiss@parliament.uk
    website http://www.dianeabbott.org.uk/

    “Duties” but “there will be no salary”. So I asked:

    Dear Sonia,

    I apologise for bothering you but I am writing about your advert as I wondered whether this position should be paid if you expect this person to do work for you?

    Is that not right? I would be grateful you could let me know.

    Many thanks

    No reply.

    Hi Sonia, would it be possible to have an answer to this?

    Many thanks

    No reply.

    Dear Sonia,

    I apologise for bothering you again but do you or Diane Abbott have an answer to this?

    Many thanks

    The position has now been filled.

    Sonia John-Lewis
    Executive Assistant & Private Secretary to:
    Diane Abbott MP

    And she didn’t bother answering any more of my emails either.

    So that’s what Diane Abbott really thinks about the issue.

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