GANG­ING UP ON COR­BYN

EX-LABOUR VETER­ANS SAY ‘VOTE BORIS’ AFTER DEPUTY QUITS

Metro (UK) - - FRONT PAGE - by DO­MINIC YEATMAN

JEREMY COR­BYN yes­ter­day faced the wrath of two ex-Labour MPs la­belling him a ‘dis­grace’ – and urg­ing vot­ers to back Boris John­son in­stead.

Ian Austin and John Wood­cock, who gave a joint press con­fer­ence, both said their for­mer party’s leader could not be trusted with the keys to No.10.

Ex-cul­ture min­is­ter Mr Austin, who quit Labour in Fe­bru­ary in protest at a ‘cul­ture of ex­trem­ism, anti-Semitism and in­tol­er­ance’, said Mr Cor­byn was ‘com­pletely un­fit’ to lead Bri­tain. Mr

Wood­cock, who had the party whip with­drawn last year, said: ‘The choice to keep Jeremy Cor­byn away from Down­ing Street, to keep him away from the levers of na­tional se­cu­rity and de­fence, has to be to vote Con­ser­va­tive. And that’s what I’ll be do­ing as well.’

Mr Cor­byn said the pair had be­trayed vot­ers after be­ing elected Labour MPs

in 2017. ‘ They’ve cho­sen to walk away and call for peo­ple to vote Tory, to vote for aus­ter­ity and vote for all the in­equal­ity this Tory gov­ern­ment has brought to Bri­tain,’ he added.

Dud­ley MP Mr Austin, who has sat as an in­de­pen­dent since leav­ing Labour, will not be con­test­ing the seat he has held since 2005.

The adopted son of a Jewish refugee who es­caped the Holo­caust, he has been ap­pointed UK trade en­voy to Is­rael.

The 54-year-old said: ‘I joined the Labour Party as a teenager so it has re­ally come to some­thing when I tell de­cent tra­di­tional pa­tri­otic Labour vot­ers that they should be vot­ing for Boris John­son.

‘There are only two peo­ple who can be prime min­is­ter on De­cem­ber 13 and that’s Jeremy Cor­byn or Boris John­son.

‘And I think Jeremy Cor­byn is com­pletely un­fit to lead our coun­try and lead the Labour Party.’

Mr Wood­cock, who will not be fight­ing the Bar­row and Fur­ness seat he has held since 2010, agreed that only Mr John­son or Mr Cor­byn can be­come PM.

He pleaded with Labour vot­ers to jump ship and not ‘leave it un­til too late’. The 41-year-old has sat as an in­de­pen­dent since los­ing the party whip in April last year over sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against him, which he de­nies.

For­mer Labour MP Tom Har­ris, who was a trans­port min­is­ter un­der Tony Blair, said he would also be ‘far hap­pier’ with Mr John­son than Mr Cor­byn.

Sym­pa­this­ing with Mr Austin, he told Sky News: ‘There should be some un­der­stand­ing of why some­one with Jewish her­itage sim­ply can­not bring them­selves to sup­port this party.’

The at­tacks on Mr Cor­byn came hours after his deputy Tom Wat­son an­nounced he would step down as an MP.

The ex-min­is­ter, elected by mem­bers to the No.2 post and seen as a fig­ure­head for Cor­byn op­po­nents in the party, said he had quit for per­sonal rea­sons.

But Mr Austin asked: ‘If Tom thought that Jeremy Cor­byn was fit to lead our coun­try and fit to form a gov­ern­ment, would he re­ally be stand­ing down?’

Len McCluskey, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Unite union, called Mr Austin a ‘treach­er­ous hyp­ocrite’.

And the shadow chan­cel­lor John McDon­nell re­ferred to the trade en­voy role by claim­ing: ‘When you are em­ployed by the Tories you speak for the Tories.’

Stop Jez: Ian Austin and (right) John Wood­cock ap­peal to elec­torate

‘Dis­grace’: Jeremy Cor­byn

GETTY

Bumpy road: Jeremy Cor­byn launches Labour’s cam­paign bus in Liverpool

PIC­TURES: REX/GETTY

Sym­pa­thy: Ex-Labour MP Tom Har­ris also prefers Boris John­son

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