Dudley North MP Ian Austin has given the Express and Star an alleged exclusive this morning. As the paper’s Twitter feed tells, “BREAKING: Dudley North MP @IanAustinMP today confirmed he is quitting The Labour Party. He has become the ninth MP to leave Jeremy Corbyn’s party this week. Read more exclusively in the @ExpressandStar and online”. Two full pages have been devoted to the story.
Ian Austin - on the way out
The narrative is exactly as Austin would have wanted. “Ian Austin told the Express & Star that he had become 'ashamed of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’ … In an exclusive interview with the Express & Star, the Dudley North MP said it had been the toughest decision of his life to leave the party he joined in 1984”. There was more.
Wanted to tell the people of Dudley first. Ho ho ho
“He said the hard left had taken over Labour to the point where it was no longer mainstream, and accused the party of being tougher on people who complain about anti-Semitism than it is on racists [no citation] … He said he had not spoken to the new anti-Brexit Independent Group, which consists of eight Labour MPs and former Tories Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen”. It sounds noble. But it is total crap.
As Zelo Street regulars knew on Wednesday evening - and that was the real exclusive, folks - Austin had by that time already resigned. He wanted to have control of his own particular place in the news cycle, and had clearly decided to give the story to the Express and Star so as to give the impression that he a Proper Local MP. That his majority has shrunk in recent General Elections to just 22 suggests otherwise.
Over in nearby West Bromwich East, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson’s majority has held up rather better. Also, Austin stood on the Labour Party’s manifesto in 2017, so the idea that Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader has suddenly alienated him is ridiculous.
Ian Austin is, whisper it quietly, so inept that he couldn’t even keep his resignation from Labour under wraps for 36 hours. He will sink into political oblivion yet more rapidly than those who left Labour before him, a dislikable bully and an unprincipled nobody.
Once again, Zelo Street had the right story first. I’ll just leave that one there.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at