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Labour MP quits 'broken' party over Corbyn

Sky News logo Sky News 22/02/2019

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Ian Austin has quit the Labour party © Getty Ian Austin has quit the Labour party MP Ian Austin has revealed he is quitting the Labour Party, claiming it is "broken" under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

He is not joining the Independent Group of eight former Labour and three Conservative backbenchers, which was launched this week.

The Dudley North MP told his local paper the Express and Star: "The Labour Party has been my life, so this has been the hardest decision I have ever had to take.

Jeremy Corbyn wearing a suit and tie: Mr Corbyn said he was 'determined to root out antisemitism' © Getty Mr Corbyn said he was 'determined to root out antisemitism'

"But I have to be honest and the truth is that I have become ashamed of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn."

He said he was "appalled" at the distress Mr Corbyn and Labour have "caused Jewish people".

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

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Mr Austin was a minister under former prime minister Gordon Brown and adopted by parents who fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.

Luciana Berger was one of those to quit Labour earlier this week, branding Labour "institutionally antisemitic".

She tweeted saying: "I fully understand why Ian Austin has come to this difficult and painful decision."

A Labour spokesperson said: "We regret that Ian Austin has left the Labour party."

Mr Corbyn claimed in a video statement posted on Twitter earlier this week he was "utterly determined to root out antisemitism from our party and our society".

He went on: "I say again to the Jewish people, both in our party and across the country, we are your allies in the fight against antisemitism.

"Labour is the only party with a deep-rooted history of combating racism."

Mr Corbyn has told all the MPs who have quit this week - Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes, Ms Berger and Mr Austin - to hold by-elections because they were elected on a Labour platform.

Pictured: The 'gang of seven', the first seven Labour MPs who quit earlier this week © Getty Pictured: The 'gang of seven', the first seven Labour MPs who quit earlier this week

But a tweet he sent in 2010 has resurfaced, showing him tell a constituent people vote for their MP - not a "party/ leader".

A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn has not responded to multiple requests for comment on it.

Corbyn with Watson © Reuters Corbyn with Watson

Deputy leader Tom Watson has said this week he sometimes does not "recognise" the Labour Party.

He added after the first splinter that "unless we change, we may see more days like this".

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