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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Tory MP Christian Wakeford Has Defected To Labour In A Dramatic Protest Against Boris Johnson

4 min read

Christian Wakeford, the MP for Bury South, has spectacularly quit the Tory party and joined Labour in protest against Boris Johnson's under-pressure leadership.

Wakeford, who was among the so-called Red Wall Tory MPs elected at the 2019 general election, announced he had quit the party and joined Labour on Wednesday, shortly before Prime Minister's Questions.

His defection was a shock blow to Johnson, who is fighting to save his leadership amid the ongoing Downing Street parties scandal.

In a withering letter to the Prime Minister, Wakeford wrote that he could "no longer support a govemment that has shown itself consistently out of touch with the hard working people of Bury South and the country as a whole".

He said that he believed the "best interests" of his constituents were best served by a government led by Labour leader, Keir Starmer, not the Conservative government.

"I care passionately about the people of Bury South and I have concluded that the policies of the Conservative government that you lead are doing nothing to help the people of my constituency and indeed are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse," he said.

"Britain needs a government focused on tackling the cost of living crisis and providing a path out of the pandemic that protects living standards and defends the security of all.

"It needs a government that upholds the highest standards of integrity and probity in public Iife sadly both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves".

Speaking later in the day, Wakeford said his decision to join Labour was "months in the build up" and after "a lot of soul searching and many sleepless nights."

Asked by Sky News how he would explain the decision to his constituents who elected him as a Tory, he said: “I was elected as a moderate and a centrist and I’m still a moderate and a centrist, just wearing a different rosette.”

Labour leader Starmer welcomed Wakeford to the party, saying he "has always put the people of Bury South first."
He said: “As Christian said, the policies of the Conservative government are doing nothing to help the people of Bury South and indeed are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse.

“People across Britain faces a cost of living crisis but this incompetent Tory government is asleep at the wheel, distracted by a chaos of its own making. Meanwhile families, businesses and pensioners are suffering from the Conservative failure to tackle rising food, fuel and energy prices".

Wakeford has been a vocal critic of the Prime Minister over the Downing Street parties scandal and confirmed this week that he had submitted a letter of no confidence in Johnson.

He was one of around two dozen Tory MPs elected in 2019 who met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Johnson's leadership, amid speculation that the number of letters required to trigger a leadership contest  — 54 — will be reached as soon as today.

Johnson is battling to stay in Downing Street amid a major backlash from Conservative MPs over his involvement in the parties and his handling of the controversy since. 

In a bruising interview with Sky News yesterday, the Prime Minister denied claims he was warned that a party in the garden of Downing Street on 20 May was in breanch of strict lockdown rules. 

At the time outdoor mixing was not permitted with more than one person from outside of your household. Around 40 people are believed to have attended the event, including Johnson, who has said he believed it was a "work event". 

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