Blow for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour peer vows to vote for Liberal Democrats over Brexit
A Labour peer faces being booted out of the party as he slammed Jeremy Corbyn and revealed he would be voting for the Liberal Democrats in this week's European elections.
Lord Cashman - a former MEP and the founder of the Stonewall LGBT charity - said he could not "trust" the Labour leader on Brexit and threw his weight behind the Lib Dems for their "absolute consistency" on the EU.
The move risks seeing the Labour peer expelled from the party, as Labour's rules state that any member who backs a group other than Labour will "automatically be ineligible" to stay on as a member.
Writing on Twitter, Lord Cashman backed former Tory MP Matthew Parris's own declaration of support for the Lib Dems at the Euro elections on BBC Newsnight.
And he said: "I can’t trust Corbyn or the people around him on the defining issue in postwar Britain so on Thursday I will not be voting for the Labour Party.
"As Matthew Parris said, I am not a Liberal Democrat, but I support their absolute consistency. Voting Libdem in the EU elections."
In a later post, the former Eastenders actor acknowledged he may have "just resigned from the Labour party by declaring that I will support the Liberal Democrats in the European elections".
The party's rules state that any member of Labour "who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party" will "automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member".
But, doubling down on his decision, Lord Cashman - who was appointed as a human rights envoy by Ed Miliband and sat on Labour's ruling executive for years - told Labour MEP David Martin that Mr Corbyn had given "zero support to the EU whilst clamouring to own the rights that arise from it".
He added: "I didn’t work in the European Parliament to throw it away. I will not change my mind on this."
'THRASHING THE LABOUR VOTE'
The move comes as a new poll put the Liberal Democrats six points ahead of Labour going into Thursday's European elections.
The latest YouGov/Times study has Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party as the clear frontrunners on 37%, with the Liberal Democrats in second place on 19%.
Labour meanwhile gets just 13% of the vote in the YouGov poll, one point ahead of the Greens on 12% and six points clear of the Tories who have plummeted to just 7% support.
Lib Dem former Cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey told The Sun his party was "thrashing the Labour vote".
He added: "I’ve never seen anything like it. The switch is bigger than anything we saw during the Iraq War. We are seeing voters in the millions come to us."
Lord Cashman's decision to back the Lib Dems comes hot on the heels of Conservative former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine's own decision to back the party.
Lord Heseltine - a longstanding supporter of a second referendum on Brexit - had the Tory whip withdrawn after he made clear he would be voting for Sir Vince Cable's party.
That decision was on Wednesday blasted as "sheer folly" by Tory former prime minister Sir John Major, who warned it could encourage "many moderate Conservatives" to follow the peer's example.