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Labour MP rounds on Corbyn for 'defending anti-Semites'

A Labour MP has accused party leader Jeremy Corbyn of "supporting and defending" extremists and anti-Semites.

Ian Austin lashed out at the Opposition leader after it was revealed he is facing possible disciplinary action for clashing with the party chairman over the National Executive Committee's (NEC) failure to fully adopt a widely-backed definition of anti-Semitism.

Dudley North MP Mr Austin, the son of adoptive Jewish parents who lost relatives in the Holocaust, said the row that has seen Labour castigated by a string of Jewish groups had left him "deeply ashamed" of the party.

He accused Mr Corbyn of introducing to Labour a more "extreme" brand of politics, telling BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend: "Somebody with views and history like his isn't really suited to the leadership of a mainstream political party."

Asked whether he was speaking out just because he did not want Corbyn to lead the party, Mr Austin said: "He was never my choice to lead the Labour party that's true, but what do people think? That I'm so worried about his plans to nationalise the railways or something that I would invent all this stuff?

"It's actually the other way around. It's because he has spent his entire time in politics on the extreme fringes of the Labour Party, supporting and defending all sorts of extremists and in some cases frankly, anti-Semites."

Labour's governing body the NEC did not include within its new code of conduct the full definition of anti-Semitism - including illustrative examples - set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Mr Austin said allegations he had "screamed abuse" at chairman Ian Lavery, sparking the disciplinary proceedings, were false.

But he did admit there had been a "heated discussion".

Mr Austin said: "I said that I thought the NEC's decision was a disgrace.

"Am I upset about anti-Semitism? Yes I am.

"I am upset about that and I'm upset as well about the leadership's failure, I think refusal, really, to deal with this issue properly."

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