IAN AUSTIN, MP for Dudley North in the West Midlands, who quit the Labour Party yesterday, said that he will not call a by-election, despite only retaining his seat by a mere 22 votes when he stood in 2017.
He cited Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as his reason for quitting, claiming that he is ‘creating a culture of extremism and intolerance’ in the party.
When it was put to him, ‘Who do you want to be the next Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May?’ he refused to answer, replying: ‘Well I hope that that won’t be the choice at the next election.’
Pushed again, it was put to him: ‘It is going to be between Labour or the Conservatives at the next election. Do you want a Labour government or do you want another Conservative government?’
Ducking the question again, he said: ‘That is exactly the question that every Labour MP is going to have to ask themselves.’
The interviewer pressed: ‘What is your answer Mr Austin?’
He said: ‘Well look, the reason that I left the Labour Party today is because I could never, ever, ever tell anybody that Jeremy Corbyn is fit to be Prime Minister. He is not fit to lead the Labour Party and he is certainly not fit to be Prime Minister.’
He was asked: ‘Are you saying you would rather have Theresa May than Jeremy Corbyn?’
He said: ‘An election is three years away. There is no easy answer to this question. All I know is that I have the time to choose, and I have to do what I think is right.’