An honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, Ian Austin, has become the eleventh Labour MP to resign from the Labour Party in the past six months.
Mr Austin’s resignation follows the departure of seven Labour MPs on Monday over antisemitism: Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey, followed by the resignation of former Labour MP Joan Ryan two days later. Together, they have formed The Independent Group of MPs. Previously, former Labour MPs Frank Field and Ivan Lewis also resigned over antisemitism in the Labour Party but they have not joined The Independent Group, and nor has Mr Austin.
As the son of a Holocaust refugee whose entire family was slaughtered by the Nazis in Treblinka extermination camp, Ian Austin’s upbringing instilled in him a firm sense of justice and the determination to fight bigotry wherever he saw it. As an MP, he led a successful campaign to drive the far-right British National Party out of his Dudley North constituency, and he has been a leading figure in the fight against antisemitism that has taken hold in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
In an interview with the local newspaper of his Dudley North constituency, the Express and Star, Mr Austin said: “I am appalled at the offence and distress Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have caused to 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. The hard truth is that the party is tougher on the people complaining about antisemitism than it is on the antisemites…I think Jeremy Corbyn has completely changed what was a mainstream party into a completely different party with very different values.”
Mr Austin has always campaigned against antisemitism as a matter of conviction and conscience. We are proud that he is one of Campaign Against Antisemitism’s honorary patrons and proud of the strong message that he has sent out today.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has referred the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is now due to decide whether to open a full statutory investigation into antisemitic discrimination and victimisation within the Party.