There are 'too many racists and cranks in the party', former Labour MP says

29 October 2020, 17:23 | Updated: 29 October 2020, 19:41

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A former MP who quit Labour last year over anti-Semitism has told LBC there are "clearly too many" racists, cranks and conspiracy theorists in the party.

Lord Austin, who had served as the MP for Dudley North between 2005 and 2019, told Eddie Mair the decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn from Labour "isn't the end of it".

The former party leader had the whip removed on Thursday following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's (EHRC) investigation into anti-Semitism in Labour.

It found the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination, with current leader Sir Keir Starmer saying the findings marked a "day of shame" for it.

Ian Austin, who had previously said he could never have imagined leaving Labour because of racism, told Eddie: "I think it's a really shameful day for Labour.

"Here's the official equalities watchdog, established by a Labour government, finding that the Labour Party has broken the equalities laws."

Read more: Corbyn suspended from Labour following comments on anti-Semitism report

Lord Austin told Eddie Mair that today was a really shameful day for Labour
Lord Austin told Eddie Mair that today was a really shameful day for Labour. Picture: LBC / PA

He said the past five years have been "a terrible period" for the party and represented a "complete and utter disgrace" for Labour.

"What's got to follow on from this is really serious action to get to grips with this problem once and for all and to drive the racists, cranks and conspiracy theorists out of what has always been a mainstream, moderate party that so many of us joined to fight racism."

When asked how many racists, cranks and conspiracy theorists there are in Labour, he said "there are clearly too many".

"I think what they've got to do now, is they've got to back through all the complaints that were put under Corbyn's leadership and were brushed under the carpet... and make sure that there's no room in the Labour Party for racism or anti-Semitism."