Ian Austin pens letter urging Labour voters in marginal seats to back Tories
Ian Austin has called on Labour voters around the country to abandon the party and back the Tories in a new letter to voters.
In the letter to thousands of voters in marginal seats, the former Labour MP says Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead the country, and warns that his old party's manifesto plans will "put businesses, investment and jobs at risk".
Mr Austin quit Labour in February in opposition to Mr Corbyn's leadership.
He has since stood down in the Dudley North seat he has held since 2005 and urged people to vote for Boris Johnson in next week's general election.
Under a banner saying 'Ian Austin – former Labour MP', he says: "I could never ask anyone to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.
"I am decent, traditional Labour, but I think he is completely unfit to lead our country.
"The Labour Party has been poisoned by racism, extremism and intolerance under his leadership."
He adds: "I do not think he will deliver Brexit, and at a time when working people need support, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have come up with plans that will put businesses, investment and jobs at risk."
He said that voters were faced with a choice between Boris Johnson and Mr Corbyn as PM, and warned that if the Tories fail to get a majority the SNP will back Mr Corbyn.
"It is too big a risk. That's why I think we should lend the Tories our votes and stop Jeremy Corbyn getting anywhere near Downing Street."
The mail out has been paid for by the Conservative Party and has gone out to voters in constituencies including Bedford – where Labour won by 789 votes in 2017 – and Ashfield, where Mr Corbyn's party holds a majority of 441.
Mr Austin said: "I have made it absolutely clear that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to lead the Labour Party, never mind the country. I have written a letter to that effect."