Ninth Labour MP resigns from party

Dudley Council leader Qadar Zada   Ian Austin exclusively revealed to the Express & Star why he is leaving Labour

Dudley Council leader Qadar Zada Ian Austin exclusively revealed to the Express & Star why he is leaving Labour

Ian Austin, MP for Dudley in the West Midlands, told party members in a series of text messages on Friday that he felt "ashamed of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn" and criticised Corbyn's approach to tackling anti-semitism.

Austin said he did not now have any plans to join The Independent Group in parliament, launched by seven of his former Labour colleagues on Monday and since joined by an eighth as well as three former members of the governing Conservatives.

But Ian Austin, the parliamentary representative for Dudley North, said he would not be joining 11 former Labour and Conservative MPs in the newly formed Independent Group.

He told the newspaper there was a "culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance" in the Labour party.

Referring to Mr Corbyn, he said: "I always thought he was unfit to lead the Labour Party and I certainly think he is unfit to lead our country".

"The hard truth is that the party is tougher on the people complaining about antisemitism than it is on the antisemites".

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He said he could never ask his constituents to make Mr Corbyn prime minister, claiming the Labour leader and shadow chancellor John McDonnell supported the IRA and "cannot be trusted with our national security and would undermine our democratic institutions".

On Monday, then-Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, and Ann Coffey resigned from the party, saying they were "embarrassed and ashamed" to be associated with Corbyn's Labour, citing concerns over Brexit and anti-Semitism.

Last year, the backbench MP faced possible disciplinary action over his reaction to Labour's handling of antisemitism as he allegedly used abusive language towards party chair Ian Lavery.

In backing a People's Vote, Mr McDonnell will hope that Labour MPs on the brink of resigning will decide not to do so.

"This is the most hard decision I've ever had to take but I've taken it because I've become ashamed of the Labour Party". Politics is broken and it is so important MPs stand up for the mainstream values we share. Mike Gapes MP of the Independent Group has also indicated his support for the proposal.

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