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Corbyn's bid for PM dealt a blow as former colleagues call on the public to vote Tory

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveils the party’s battle bus while on the campaign trail in Liverpool
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveils the party’s battle bus while on the campaign trail in Liverpool
Ex-Labour MP Ian Austin

By Harriet Line

Jeremy Corbyn's bid for Number 10 suffered a series of blows as two former Labour MPs urged voters to support Boris Johnson at the general election.

Ian Austin said the Labour leader was "not fit to lead". He was joined by John Woodcock as they launched a campaign labelling Mr Corbyn a "disgrace to his party".

It came as the Jewish Chronicle published a stark front page urging voters not to support Labour because of Mr Corbyn's handling of anti-Semitism within the party.

The paper said the "near total inaction of Mr Corbyn and the rest of the Labour leadership in dealing with anti-Semites in the party has both emboldened them and encouraged others", and accused Mr Corbyn and his allies of having "actively impeded action against the racists."

Mr Austin, who is not contesting the Dudley North seat he has held since 2005, issued a blistering attack on Mr Corbyn, telling the Express & Star newspaper: "I must do everything I can to stop Jeremy Corbyn from getting into power."

The long-time critic of Mr Corbyn and a former adviser to Gordon Brown quit Labour in February in response to what he claimed was a "culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance".

Mr Austin said "decent patriotic Labour voters" should vote Tory to help Mr Johnson get the majority he needs to stop Mr Corbyn from entering Number 10, adding that the Opposition leader was "too big a risk".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed Mr Austin was "employed by the Tories", adding: "What else do you expect him to do in an election campaign where you're employed by the Tories? You speak on behalf of the Tories."

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