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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

Labour's Ian Austin becomes ninth MP to quit party this week

He has no plans to join the recently formed independent group.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin (file photo)
Dudley North MP Ian Austin (file photo)
Image: Simon Cooper/PA Images

LABOUR MP IAN Austin has quit the party, it has emerged this morning.

He confirmed the news on Twitter, saying he has decided to leave the party to put those in his constituency of Dudley first.

Austin told the Express and Star newspaper that he quit over the party’s “lurch to the left” under Jeremy Corbyn and its failure to tackle anti-Semitism.

He becomes the ninth MP to leave the party this week, after Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey announced their departure on Monday, while Joan Ryan quit the party on Tuesday.

However, the BBC reports that Austin does not plan to join the independent group formed by his former colleagues in the House of Commons.

Corbyn’s tenure as leader has seen near-constant rumours that some MPs were planning to split from the party.

Support from grassroots Labour members saw him survive a leadership challenge in 2016, but he has often struggled to maintain authority within the party.

His perceived lack of leadership during the Brexit referendum, when Labour was campaigning for Remain, was sharply criticised by some MPs, while there have also been numerous allegations of anti-Semitism within the party.

With reporting by Rónán Duffy.

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