TOM Harris, the outspoken former Glasgow MP and transport minister, has quit Labour after 34 years in the midst of the anti-Semitism row engulfing the party.

A vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Harris sent his resignation letter to Scottish Labour HQ last week after deciding the party was “not the place for me anymore”.

He told the Herald it was a “personal decision” and he did not plan to join another party.

After a week of bitter infighting exacerbated by his failure to get a grip on the anti-Semitism crisis, Mr Corbyn last night tried to get back on the front foot with a newspaper article on the subject.

He admitted Labour had "a real problem" overcome, and said those spreading "anti-Semitic poison" had no place in the party.

However he also dismissed a claim by three Jewish newspapers that Labour was an existential threat to Jewish life in the UK as "overheated rhetoric".

Mr Harris, 54, declined to say if his departure was linked to Mr Corbyn or the anti-Semitism row, but acknowledged he had “not exactly been a shrinking violet” about the current leader.

He recently published a book called “Ten Years in the Death of the Labour Party” covering the decade since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007.

He was a prescient critic of Mr Corbyn, warning two years ago that his left-wing anti-Israel supporters would lead to problems with anti-Semitism.

He said: “I have not been kicked out. I’ve resigned. I’m just an ordinary member of the Labour party who has decided to resign after 34 years.

“It felt a wee bit like a bereavement, I felt a bit emotional, but it’s just not the place for me anymore. It’s a personal decision. It’s not a comment on any people who have chosen to remain. This is just what’s right for me. It’s just a personal thing.”

In early 2016, Mr Harris said Mr Corbyn, “while no anti-Semite himself” had “rarely hesitated to share platforms” with people who were.

“Unfortunately for Labour, the election of Corbyn as its leader has thrown a spotlight on a nasty kind of politics,” he wrote. “Corbyn’s association with, and friendship of, the Hamas terrorist organisation is a good starting point: here is an organisation which, far from denying its anti-Semitism, proudly states its commitment to killing Jews in its own constitution.”

More recently, Mr Harris said Mr Corbyn’s close colleagues believed he would be “a disaster” as prime minister” because of “his general lack of abilities” and past associations.

“Labour MPs believe that a Labour government headed by Jeremy Corbyn would make this country less secure and would place the Jewish community in a vulnerable position”.

Mr Harris was the MP for Glasgow Cathcart and Glasgow South from 2001 to 2015, and served as transport minister from 2006 to 2008.

A Blairite who traces many of Labour’s woes to Mr Brown becoming PM, he was the first Scottish MP to call for him to leave Downing Street, saying in 2009 that he could not be allowed to lead the party into the following year’s general election.

He stood for the Scottish Labour leadership in 2011, losing to Johann Lamont.

He returned to frontbench politics in 2012 as Mr Miliband’s shadow environment minister.

After losing his seat, he set up a public affairs consultancy, but was diverted back to campaigning by the EU referendum, leading the Scottish branch of Vote Leave.

SNP MP Stewart McDonald, who defeated Mr Harris in 2015, said: “Tom has been a loyal Labour party member, a minister and an MP, and the fact he felt he had to resign from his party after all these years is a great shame.”