Ian Austin Quits Labour And Tells LBC: “I Never Imagined I'd Be Leaving Because Of Racism"

22 February 2019, 11:38 | Updated: 22 February 2019, 11:42

The ninth MP to quit Labour this week has told LBC: “I joined the party to fight racism, I never imagined I would be leaving because of racism”.

Ian Austin resigned from the Labour Party on Friday, blaming Jeremy Corbyn for "creating a culture of extremism and intolerance”.

“I am appalled at the offence and distress Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have caused to Jewish people,” he said in his resignation.

Unlike his colleagues, the MP for Dudley North is not joining the newly formed Independent Group.

Ian Austin spoke to Jess Phillips on LBC
Ian Austin spoke to Jess Phillips on LBC. Picture: PA/LBC

Speaking to Jess Phillips on LBC, he said: “I grew up listening to my dad, a refugee of the Holocaust, telling me about the evils of racism and hatred and prejudice.

“A big part of me joining the Labour Party was to fight racism and I could never have imagined I'd be leaving it because of racism.”

Yesterday in an LBC interview, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell mistakenly claimed Mr Austin had already left the party.

Asked for his response, Mr Austin said: “I think they were… some people say they were trying to flush people out, put pressure on them, force them to recant or something.

“I hadn’t resigned when he said I had. I knew I wasn’t going to do it before I got back to Dudley.”

On Brexit, the former Labour MP said: "I voted to stay in, I’m not happy that we’re leaving, but I accept the referendum result.

"I promised the people in Dudley that I would respect the result of the referendum and I keep the promises I make."