Labour MP Ian Austin Quits "Broken" Party

22 February 2019, 09:14 | Updated: 22 February 2019, 09:52

Ian Austin, the Dudley North MP
Ian Austin, the Dudley North MP. Picture: PA

Ian Austin has become the ninth MP to resign from Labour, saying the party is "broken" and he doesn't want Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister.

The Dudley North MP has left the Labour Party, but will not join The Independent Group along with the other eight Labour MPs who resigned this week.

Speaking to the Express and Star, Mr Austin said of his constituents: "I always tell them the truth and I could never ask local people to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.

"I am appalled at the offence and distress Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have caused to Jewish people.

"It is terrible that a culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance is driving out good MPs and decent people who have committed their life to mainstream politics.

"The hard truth is that the party is tougher on the people complaining about anti-Semitism than it is on the anti-Semites."

"I think Jeremy Corbyn has completely changed what was a mainstream party into a completely different party with very different values.

"The hard left is now in charge of the party, they're going to get rid of lots of decent mainstream MPs and I just can't see how it can return to the mainstream party that won elections and changed the country for the better."

However, Mr Austin said he had not spoken to the newly-formed Independent Group, which also contains three ex-Conservatives.

He added: "I think the Labour Party is broken and clearly things have to change but that's not what today is about, and I've not talked to them about that."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "We regret that Ian Austin has left the Labour Party.

"He was elected as a Labour MP and so the democratic thing is to resign his seat and let the people of Dudley decide who should represent them."