Diane Abbott says Ed Miliband asked if he was 'doing the right thing' when he gave her the sack

Then-shadow Health Secretary says it shows leader is 'such a nice person'

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When Ed Miliband sacked Diane Abbott as a shadow minister he called her into his office and to ask her if he was “doing the right thing”, it has been revealed.

Appearing on London Live today, Ms Abbott said the incident was an example of how the Labour leader is “such a nice person”.

But at the same time she was critical of Mr Miliband’s major speech on the economy today, describing it simply as “fine” and adding that it was “quite short of specifics”.

Ms Abbott has said previously that she was sacked in the reshuffle in October last year because she refused to “literally read from [Mr Miliband’s] script”.

And speaking on the Headline London programme about the moment her party leader gave her the boot as shadow Health Secretary, Ms Abbott said: “When he called me into his office to sack me, he said to be in a rather earnest way, do you think I’m doing the right thing Diane?

“I said Ed, it’s your reshuffle, of course you’re doing the right thing.”

Asked by the presenter if this was “quite an odd thing for a leader [to do]”, Ms Abbott replied. “Well he’s such a nice person. It’s was his reshuffle, he knew who he wanted in his top team so I have never said a word against him in that regard.”

In the same interview, Ms Abbott praised the leadership qualities of Chuka Umunna – the man who Tony Blair has backed to take the reins of the party when Mr Miliband stands down.

Ms Abbott said: “He’s hugely charismatic and has huge potential and is still quite young. Whether Tony Blair endorsing him was a plus point, I’m not entirely sure.

“It would be fantastic to have a black leader of the Labour party, and I hope to see it in my lifetime,” she added.

But she said she didn’t think Mr Umunna would have done a better job than Mr Miliband in the last few years, and said that he would be “one of the first people to back Ed Miliband, 101 per cent”.

In his speech in London earlier today, Mr Miliband pledged to balance the nation’s books while still protecting public services.

The Tories responded by saying that the speech showed Labour “do not have a plan to deal with the deficit”. The Lib Dem Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander told Sky News: “I think we have learnt today why Ed Miliband didn't mention the deficit in his conference speech - because he's got absolutely nothing new to say.”