I would like to give you, VERBATIM, direct from the astonishing BBC Today interview with Ian Austin, the former Labour MP, Minister and Party Man to his core. This interview CAME OUT OF THE BLUE, at nine minutes past Seven; immediately after the astonishing statement that Tom Watson. Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, was bowing out of politics, resigning his post as Deputy.
These were the complete words spoken by the FORMER Labour MP!
BBC Mr Austin was asked what the political significance of Watson’s resignation?
Austin “You have the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, somebody who, if the Labour Party won the General Election in a few weeks time, and he‘s decided to quit. It is enormously significant. If Tom (Watson) thought that Jeremy Corbyn was fit to lead our country and able to form a Government, and he would have been in that Cabinet; would he be really standing down? Anyone who has spoken to Tom knows about his opinions of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership; more importantly everyone knows how appalled he is about the scandal of anti-semitism which has poisoned the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.”
BBC “You have criticised Jeremy Corbyn again and again on both anti-semitism and on other issues. You now have a choice, you can run as an Independent Labour MP, what will you be saying to the voters?”
Austin. “Nick, all I ever wanted was to be a Labour MP, and I only ever wanted to be the Labour MP for Dudley; and its been a huge privilege to be able to do this job. A job I loved, in a place I’ve loved. But I have got to be honest with people, and I’m not gonna be running at this election. This country faces a huge choice; there’s only going to be one of two people can be Prime Minister, Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn: and I think THAT JEREMY CORBYN IS COMPLETELY UNFIT TO LEAD OUR COUNTRY: AND COMPLETELY UNFIT TO LEAD THE LABOUR PARTY! After thirty four years, I joined the Labour Party as a teenager, I’ve worked for the Labour Party. In my thirties, I worked as a government adviser, in my forties, I was an MP and a Minister, and it has really come to something when I tell decent, patriotic Labour voters that they should be voting for Boris Johnson at this election. I cannot believe that it has come to this, but thats where we are.”
BBC “You, someone who used to be able to pick up the phone to this programme, and have the odd shout when you were Gordon Brown’s press secretary, you are telling people that they should vote Conservative: to vote for Boris Johnson?
Austin “I am: the choice the country faces; look, the British people have got to decide this, and lots of traditional, decent Labour voters have got to decide; and Labour voters are going to be grappling with this question, and if they have to face up to that: then I don’t think that people like me should have the luxury of running away from it! Look, I could just announce that I am standing down, and disappear back to Dudley, and they would never hear from me again. But in the end, I believe that people who put themselves forward for elected office, positions of politics; you’ve got a responsibility to stand up, tell the truth, and say whats right! This has happened on our watch, we have to take responsibility. I don’t want what Jeremy Corbyn has done to the Labour Party, I don’t want him to be able to do that to the country.”
BBC “You speak with passion, your father was a Jewish refugee. Your aunt, your grandmother were murdered by the Nazis. Mr Corbyn and his allies would say, “We’ve acted, we’ve done things; why isn’t that enough for you?”
Austin “Its complete nonsense, in nine out of ten fringe Jewish communities they think he is Anti-Semitic. Only six percent of Jewish voters say they will be voting Labour. The Labour Party is the first political party in history to be investigated by the Equality and Human rights Commission for Anti-Semitism and Racism”
BBC “But it is more than that, in an article for your local newspaper, you accuse Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell of working with, and supporting, extremism and terrorists.”
Austin “I think he has spent his entire time in politics supporting extremists, anti-semites and terrorists. I don’t…..In the end, I don’t think he is a patriot, I don’t think he loves his country. I think he picks our enemies, whether it is the IRA during the Troubles, or describing Hamas and Hezbollah as his friends, or parroting Putin’s propaganda when the Russians sent hit-men to murder people on the streets of Britain: but most shamefully of all, for a Party with a proud record of fighting for equality, and oppposing racism, the Labour Party, under his leadership, has been poisoned with Anti-Jewish racism under his leadership; and it is a complete and utter disgrace!
BBC “We will of course be giving a spokesman for Mr Corbyn to reply to these allegations later in the programme, to answer those charges, but some people would say that the Party is much more than one man and you, who have been in the Labour party man and boy to tell Labour voters that they should vote for this posh old-Etoniamn to run the country; to potentially make you poorer by taking us out of Europe: its too much, Ian, you’ve got this wrong!”
Austin “This is a massive step, but I regard myself as proper, decent Labour, I…..I just don’t think this man is fit to run the country….
BBC (Interjecting) “Have the Tories, have they offered you anything to….
Austin |No, Nothing at all!”
BBC (Interjecting and interrupting) “Forgive me, but no job…”
Austin “I don’t have to be promised anything to know that Jeremy Corbyn’s unfit to run our county, and I’ve been saying this back in 2015, but look on the economic issues, I think they would make our country worse off, not better. I think they would chase away investment, I think they would place businesses and jobs at risk; I think their Brexit policies, you mentioned Brexit just now, Ithink Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policies are a complete fantasy. The idea that he’d be able to do a better deal in a few short weeks….”
BBC (Interjecting and interrupting) “Let me be clear…..”
Austin “Then he says he’s going to subject it to a Referendum.”
BBC “ What I’m not clear about is this; do you think that Boris Johnson is a good prime Minister, one you think you want to back, or are you on a political journey here,…..”
Austin “No, I’m not joining the Tories, I didn’t leave the Labour Party to join another Party: I left it to shine a spotlight on the disgrace it has become under Jeremy Corbyn; and to demand that other people step up and do something about it. I haven’t walked away from the fight.and `i’m not going to walk away from a fight. I’m going to be carrying on in politics, I’m going to be setting up a new organisation ‘Mainstream.uk.org’ and we’ll be campaigning on reasonable politics, and campaigning against the Far-right and the Hard-left: but look, I’m not a Tory, it isn’t where I wanna be, I wouldn’t say that Boris Johnson is unfit to be our Prime Minister in the way that I say about Jeremy Corbyn: I think the country’s got a big choice to make, and Jeremy Corbyn’s completely unfit to lead it.”
BBC “I’ve know you for many years, since i was a political correspondent and we talked when you were a press Secretary; and I think that you are not finding this easy; its been a very emotional day for you?P
Austin “Its not easy. The Labour Party has been my life, and I can’t believe its come to this. But I have to tell the truth, its been a really difficult decision, I’ve had to really grapple with this, I could have run as an Independent; I didn’t need to leave. I had to leave the Labour Party; I could have kept it all quiet, gone along with it all, disappeared back to Dudley: but I think you have to stand up and tell the truth. If you’re not going to stand up and do what’s right on a fundamental question such as Racism: what are you going to do it on?”
BBC “Thank you very much for talking to us, and we’ll be hearing from Labour ‘s Rebecca Long-Bailey after eight.”