Keir Starmer welcomes defected Tory MP Christian Wakeford to Labour
Politics is just one big soap opera and we’re all living in it – the latest development being Tory MP Christian Wakeford defecting to the Labour Party minutes before the prime minister faced a grilling at PMQs.
The Bury South politician’s defection, announced on Wednesday, came as Boris Johnson faced mounting calls to resign over parties that were reportedly held in Downing Street when lockdown restrictions were in place.
In a resignation letter published by The Bury Times, Mr Wakeford said: “From today I will be sitting as the Labour MP for Bury South because I have reached the conclusion that the best interests of my constituents are served by the programme put forward by Keir Starmer and his party.
“I care passionately about the people of Bury South and I have concluded that the policies of the Conservative government led by Boris Johnson are doing nothing to help the people of the constituency and indeed are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse.
"My decision is about much more than the leadership of Boris Johnson and the disgraceful way he has conducted himself in recent weeks.”
Meanwhile, at PMQs, Sir Keir Starmer said: “Can I start by warmly welcoming the honourable member for Bury South to his new place and to the Parliamentary Labour Party?
“Mr Speaker, like so many people up and down the country, he has concluded that the prime minister and the Conservative Party have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves, whilst the Labour Party stands ready to provide an alternative government that the country can be proud of.
“[Mr Wakeford] and anyone else who wants to build a new Britain built on decency, security, prosperity and respect is welcome in my Labour Party.”
Reactions to the news were swift with many people comparing it the the January transfer window.
A very warm welcome to Christian Wakeford MP!\n\nThe new Labour MP for Bury South. pic.twitter.com/kfpbob6VC9
Labour: Stop calling us red Tories \n\nAlso Labour: Welcome our new MP, a Tory!https://twitter.com/uklabour/status/1483768328107827201?s=21\u00a0\u2026
— Alex Mays \ud83d\udfe0\ud83c\udf24 (@Alex Mays \ud83d\udfe0\ud83c\udf24)
A guy who voted against climate change measures who leaves a sinking ship because he\u2019ll soon lose his job.\n\nThe public don\u2019t like politicians, and sometimes with good reason.https://twitter.com/uklabour/status/1483768328107827201\u00a0\u2026
If you\u2019ve defected to another party, the right thing to do is stand for a by-election. Maybe Christian Wakeford is better liked as a constituency MP than for party affiliation, but his constituents should be able to have a say!https://twitter.com/uklabour/status/1483768328107827201\u00a0\u2026
Tory MP on Christian Wakeford defection: \u201cThe chief whip hauled him in last night and it sent him over the edge when they threatened his seat. This is what bully tactics look like\u201d. There are plans to redraw Bury South seat under boundary change plans.
Mr Wakeford, who was elected to parliament in 2019 with a majority of just 402, announced his move to the Labour Party after writing a letter to Sir Graham Brady of the 1992 Committee to demand a confidence vote.