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Ian Austin: Abusive, warmongering, treacherous.

It is hard to believe Ian Austin’s claim to be leaving the Labour Party because of anti-Semitism when his own behaviour towards Jewish people can hardly be considered exemplary.

Skwawkbox has re-published an account of a rant at Jewish author Michael Rosen by the Dudley North MP. My own take on that story is here.

But dig into Mr Austin’s past and there seem to be many more reasons to celebrate his departure as “no loss” to Labour (to quote Chris Williamson MP, another victim of Mr Austin’s aggression).

There certainly seems to be no love lost between him and his Dudley North constituents. After the 2010 election he had a majority of just 649. This improved to 4,181 in 2015, after a scandal involving a Tory candidate named Afzal Amin, but just two years later Mr Austin had squandered all of that goodwill and more. His majority in that constituency now stands at just 22 votes.

No wonder he won’t be standing in a by-election to justify his choice!

He was one of a large number of then-Labour MPs who abstained on the Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Act when it was working its way through Parliament in 2015 – indicating that he supported the idea of an arbitrary benefit cap being applied to poor families.

When, in 2015, George Osborne hypocritically led Conservative MPs through the “Aye” lobby in support of a Charter for Budget Responsibility that he had said was unnecessary five years before, Mr Austin abstained in a gesture of defiance against the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the financial policies of John McDonnell, who had just delivered a speech brilliantly trashing the Tories’ claims that Labour had caused the financial collapse of seven years before.

He was heavily criticised for in-fighting against Jeremy Corbyn – especially after he welcomed the news that Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John, had been killed in an airstrike, in contrast with Mr Corbyn’s wish for that man to be brought to trial.

He voted in support of pointless air strikes in Syria in December 2015 – against the Labour whip – but his vote counted for nothing as the motion would have been carried without it.

Warmongering Mr Austin also voted against an inquiry into the Iraq War, and when Mr Corbyn made his speech in response to the Chilcot Report on that war, that MP shouted from the backbenches, “Shut up!” and “You’re a disgrace!”

I think we can all see who the disgrace really was.

He was included on a list of “abusive” MPs which was wrongly dubbed a “deselection list” by some of the people on it.

When Labour tabled a motion calling for the UK to end support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, Mr Austin abstained.

He signed a letter in support of “trial by bigotry” of Labour members accused of anti-Semitism, calling for every accusation to be considered proof of guilt, in breach of the most fundamental principle of British justice – the fact that people are innocent of any crime until they are proven guilty.

When Theresa May’s Tory government was floundering, unable to secure a Brexit deal that Parliament could support, Mr Austin offered to help her.

He was issued a disciplinary letter by the Labour leadership after he uttered a foul-mouthed stream of abuse at Ian Lavery.

So Mr Austin is a foul-mouthed, abusive, treacherous, warmongering supporter of austerity who complains about anti-Semitism but has abused at least one Jew himself. No loss? I’d say Labour is much better for his departure.

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