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22 February 2019

Ian Austin becomes ninth MP to quit Labour

The Labour MP for Dudley North has resigned the whip but will not join The Independent Group of MPs that formed earlier this week. 

By Eleni Courea

Ian Austin has quit the Labour Party over anti-Semitism and its shift to “the hard left.” In an interview with his local paper the Express & Star this morning, Austin said the Labour Party was “broken” and that he was ashamed to be part of it under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. He added that he “could never ask local people to make [Corbyn] prime minister.” 

Unlike other party defectors, Austin has no plans to join the Independent Group, which now consists of eight former Labour MPs and three former Tories. Austin has previously called on MPs to back the prime minister’s deal to deliver Brexit.

Austin has been MP for Dudley North since 2005, with his majority dwindling to just 22 votes in 2017. He formerly served as a junior minister and assistant whip under Gordon Brown.

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