Ian Austin: Labour MPs must do what is right and ditch Corbyn
Ian Austin has challenged Labour MPs to "do what is right" and get rid of "extremist" leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The Dudley North MP, who quit Labour in opposition to Mr Corbyn's leadership, challenged the party's MPs to "act on their principles" and either oust him from office or resign.
Mr Corbyn was elected Labour leader in 2015 by an overwhelming majority and survived a challenge the following year.
But despite his popularity among members, he is believed to be opposed by a significant number of the party's 229 MPs.
Mr Austin was one of nine former Labour MPs to quit the party in February, alleging that a culture of bullying and anti-Semitism had taken hold under Mr Corbyn.
He said: "For as long as Jeremy Corbyn is leader, Labour can forget popping bottles the morning after a general election.
"Labour may be edging the polls this week, but with a decent leader, my former party would be 20 points ahead in the opinion polls and cruising to victory.
"Labour MPs need to stop chatting in the tea rooms and act.
"It is time to get rid of Corbyn, or walk away and set up a new party. If you are not going to act on your principles, why are you in politics? It is time to do what's right."
Mr Corbyn became embroiled in fresh controversy last week when he was thanked in a letter by terrorist group Hamas for showing solidarity with Palestinians.
It came after the Labour leader sent a message to a London march in support of Palestinians, which Hamas said it had received with “great respect and appreciation”.
The letter added: “We also salute Mr Jeremy Corbyn for his principled position in rejecting the so-called Trump plan for the Middle East.”
Mr Corbyn was also criticised by Labour MP Wes Streeting, who urged him to stand down after describing him as "a bigger issue for us than Brexit".
Mr Austin said his colleague "didn't go far enough", and branded Mr Corbyn "an extremist who is unfit to be Prime Minister".
"Corbyn's acolytes think he is returning Labour to its ideological roots, but at best this is misguided nostalgia," he added.
"It's completely wrong. The great post-war Labour government never sought to overthrow capitalism, which is John McDonnell's desire.
"He and Jeremy Corbyn think wealth is the problem and the people who create it are the enemy."
Mr Austin added that bullying was "the worst kept secret in today's Labour Party", saying it had "sustained" Mr Corbyn in his position.