‘Thuggish‘ Ian Austin is one of the most extreme and least liked of the Labour Party’s right-wing old guard. In 2016 he disgraced himself by heckling his own party leader from the backbenches when he didn’t like Corbyn’s support for the Chilcott Inquiry into Tony Blair; and just recently he tried a ‘John Mann’-style attack on Labour front-bencher Chris Williamson, but failed embarrassingly.
Austin hasn’t been all that extreme in the context of the right-wing bastion of the West Midlands, though he’s been a lamentable MP even compared to the average Blairite.
The West Midlands is an area previously dominated almost uniformly by dreary Blairites and ‘old right’ figures at parliamentary, council and CLP (constituency Labour party) levels. In that swamp, he was simply a slightly more pungent waft among the usual odours – a shame though, for Labour’s new and envisioned intake of members who have to live with them.
But the bastion has been crumbling recently. Hodge Hill CLP ignored the pleas of its right-wing MP, voting solidly for the left-wing slate for the new NEC members, for union affiliations and in support of striking Royal Mail workers.
Last night it was Austin’s turn – and members have told the SKWAWKBOX it was an undignified sight.
At its monthly meeting last night, Austin pleaded with Dudley North CLP to nominate the ‘Labour First’-backed slate of Gurinder Singh, Eddie Izzard and Johanna ‘kicked off in 2016 to everyone’s relief’ Baxter for the three additional NEC (National Executive Committee) places agreed by Labour’s recent annual conference.
However, members voted solidly for the ‘left slate‘ candidates – Rachel Garnham, Yasmine Dar and Jon Lansman.
Mr Austin was reportedly most upset about the result of the vote. So upset, in fact, that at the end of the meeting he agitatedly argued with the CLP chair, demanding a new vote to replace the one just run. This ‘suggestion’ met the scorn it deserved and Austin had no choice but to leave and nurse his wounds.
Which CLP will be the next to express its disdain for its right-wing MP? Rumours abound.
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