Dudley residents react to Ian Austin standing down and backing the Tories

Ian Austin has retained the backing of many of his former Dudley North constituents – with shoppers offering a mixed reaction to his endorsement of the Conservatives.

Clockwise from top left: Phillip Shaw, Dave Johnson, Roger Scott-Dow and Nick Hamer
Clockwise from top left: Phillip Shaw, Dave Johnson, Roger Scott-Dow and Nick Hamer

Mr Austin today revealed to the Express & Star that he is standing down at the general election and is throwing his support behind Boris Johnson.

The 54-year-old left the Labour Party to become an independent MP in February and says he is now focused on doing everything he can to stop Jeremy Corbyn from getting into power.

We went into Dudley town centre to see what the locals made of his decision.

WATCH Dudley residents react to Ian Austin's resignation:

Phillip Shaw, 66, a semi-retired magistrate from Dudley, said: "I know he has said Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to rule and he is backing Boris Johnson so I don't know why he doesn't stand as a Conservative because he is a good MP.

"He has been a good MP for years. I have had dealings with him with the hospital. I needed an appointment to see a specialist and he sped up the process and got an urgent appointment.

"I think he has been a great MP.

"He has done a lot for this area, I know he has got the new college coming, it is a shame really. I think we will still have a Labour MP for this area because Dudley is generally Labour. I'd vote for him if he was independent."

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Dave Johnson, aged 47 and from Sedgley, described Mr Austin as a decent MP who had recently helped him out with a problem.

He said: "A few months ago I felt ill so I was claiming PIP, but they stopped that, so I wrote to Ian Austin and he got in touch with them and changed their minds then and got back through to me.

"He helped me a lot so it is a shame he is stepping down because I saw him as a very good MP.

"I was going to go to his meetings on top of that because I usually do vote for him."

Roger Scott-Dow, owner of Roger Scott Menswear on Stone Street in Dudley town centre, said: "The last time I saw him two or three weeks ago 'do you think I should stand?'

"And I thought as an independent, with politics the way they are at the moment, he might do well.

"You are never going to go from Labour to Conservative, because he has got a bit more integrity than that.

"But with regards to today's news, I was pleased to hear him be true to the country and say what I felt, we all know what he feels.

"I am surprised he is not going to stand, saddened somewhat because I know him as a friend, surprised he is not going but quite surprised he came out so forthrightly against Mr Corbyn."

Nick Hamer, from Dudley, said: "I'm not surprised really that he is stepping down because he is independent.

"He did send out a survey to people trying to gauge their thoughts as to whether they would vote for him as an independent so perhaps it is not so good news for him what the results were.

"I think he has been a good MP for Dudley generally speaking. I agree with what Ian Austin has said about Jeremy Corbyn.

"I am not a Labour supporter at all. His view on Jeremy Corbyn is spot on.

"But I wouldn't have voted if Ian stood as an independent because I support Brexit."

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