Diane Abbott appears to have claimed the formal endorsement of Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn in her bid to become mayor of London – without first clearing the supposed endorsement with Corbyn's team.
The Labour party's current fascination with both Corbyn and bombarding its supporters with endless spam messages collided on Wednesday as hundreds of people received a text apparently sent by the left-wing leadership contender declaring, "I want Diane Abbott to Labour's London Mayor."
While it's not uncommon for politicians to lend their name to other candidates, BuzzFeed News understands that in this case Corbyn's team had not formally agreed to the message, which gives the impression that the left-wing leadership contender is officially endorsing Abbott's campaign for Labour's London mayoral nomination.
The message was sent to party members in a way that made it appear to be from "J Corbyn" and begins: "Hi it's Jeremy".
Corbyn's team declined to comment on how Abbott ended up sending messages pretending to be from their candidate without their express permission.
A spokesperson insisted that the campaign is "not making any comment about that".
However it is understood that they were surprised when Labour supporters received the message on Wednesday afternoon, which appeared to suggest Corbyn and Abbott were running on a formal joint ticket.
Diane Abbott, a long-term ally of Corbyn, told BuzzFeed News that she had operated under the understanding "that Jeremy authorised the text personally" and that is why her team sent messages in his name.
"Jeremy has provided quotes in support of me which we have used extensively in printed material," she added by way of evidence for his backing for her candidacy.
"He has also done three meetings in support of my campaign. They include at a fundraiser and speaking at two rallies. The most recent rally was this Tuesday where Jeremy got up in front of 800 people and said he was supporting me."
What's more, although the text sent by Abbott's team in Corbyn's name appears to have excited some people, it seems the number on the "J Corbyn" text doesn't even work.
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at email@example.com.
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