The ‘coup’ attempt by members of the Parliamentary Labour Party against Jeremy Corbyn may have been inept – but Ian Austin managed to turn it into a work of Machiavellian legerdemain in comparison to his own effort.
In the middle of Mr Corbyn’s speech responding to the Chilcot Report on the Iraq War – one of the most important speeches likely to be heard in Parliament this year – Mr Austin could be heard shouting, “Shut up!” and “You’re a disgrace!”
No, Mr Austin – you were the disgrace.
His sudden acquisition of foot-in-mouth disease has attracted a storm of outrage, and a petition calling on Labour Chief Whip Rosie Winterton and the party’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, to impose “the strongest disciplinary action possible” has already attracted thousands of signatures.
It won’t do much good. The petition is on the 38 Degrees website and open to all members of the public, not just members of the Labour Party. As such it could be said to be open to abuse by opponents of Labour, the signatories suspected of ulterior motives.
Mr Austin’s entry in Wikipedia received a surprise sprucing-up, as an unknown editor altered it to state: “Austin was born on 8 March 1965 and was adopted as (and remains) a baby”.
Calls for Austin to resign as an MP have been resounding around Twitter ever since he spoke up.
Amazing how wrongly a person can read a situation, isn’t it?
Austin’s could become a test case, to mark out how the Labour leadership intends to deal with the rebels.
He has made a very public spectacle of his opposition to Jeremy Corbyn, and it seems likely that an example should be made of him.
Mr Corbyn has been criticised for failing to act decisively in the past.
Let us hope this is not one of those occasions.
Oh, and if you want to sign that 38 Degrees petition (I did), then follow the link below.
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