Analysis comment

Here’s what Bury S Labour thought about its defector MP a year ago today

Christian Wakeford has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Tories’ assault on the poor but Keir Starmer has welcomed him with open arms

Keir Starmer’s Labour has gushed its welcome for Tory defector Christian Wakeford – including a huge dose of hypocrisy in not demanding he face a by-election – after the Bury South MP decided it suited him to ‘cross the floor’.

But Wakeford has been as much a part of the Tories’ class war against the poor and vulnerable as any other Conservative MP – and a year ago today, Bury South Labour was pointing it out:

Young Labour – one of the few remnants of genuine Labour in Starmer’s hollowed-out husk of what was recently a great party and therefore hated by the Labour right – nailed it when it pointed out Wakeford’s record. But the young activists also reminded everyone that Wakeford had also been a sponsor of a motion to force MPs to call by-elections if they want to switch party:

None of this, of course, has caused Keir Starmer a moment’s pause in his desperation to run out the red carpet for Wakeford and trumpet the defection, even though anyone genuinely interested in the wellbeing of the people wouldn’t countenance for a moment getting into bed with one of the architects of a war on the poor that has left millions – including millions of children – in hunger, poverty and despair.

If you’re of the betting persuasion, put money on Wakeford getting a front-bench berth pretty quickly. He and Starmer are clearly two peas in a two-faced pod.

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  1. From BBC live – Posted at 12:2612:26
    Tory defector Wakeford sits behind Starmer
    Bury South MP Christian Wakeford is sitting behind Sir Keir Starmer having defected from the Conservatives to Labour.

    Starmer earlier welcomed Wakeford to his benches, saying: “The Labour Party has changed and so has the Conservative Party. He and anyone else who wants to build a new Britain built on decency, security … is welcomed in my Labour Party.”

  2. Laura Kuenssberg (she has her uses)

    Political editor

    A defection is a rare thing. A coup for Labour. A temporary triumph for Keir Starmer.

    There were whispers that Christian Wakeford was spotted talking to a former Labour MP over drinks this week. A few murmurs that he might be thinking about taking such a dramatic step. But for it to happen, to see that crossing the floor moment, it is unusual indeed. Traditionally a defection can in fact unite the party who the MP has left behind – it’s so drastic……

  3. BBC live – Iain Watson

    Political correspondent

    In the moments before PMQs started, the newest Labour MP Christian Wakeford was led towards the opposition benches as silence echoed from the government’s side.

    This Labour trophy was positioned carefully behind Sir Keir Starmer for the benefit of the cameras, his face covered with a union flag mask………..’

    All pre-planned?

  4. From BBC live – Posted at 11:5611:56
    Labour leader welcomes Tory defector
    Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer says he welcomes the decision of Christian Wakeford to join the party, after he dramatically defected from the Conservatives minutes before Prime Minister’s Questions.

    “He has always put the people of Bury South first,” he said in a statement.

    Sir Keir says 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”.

  5. BBC live – Posted at 14:3714:37
    Bury South will not see by-election, Labour suggests
    A Labour spokesman has indicated the party’s leader believes there will be no need to hold a by-election in Bury South following Christian Wakeford’s defection.

    Asked if, as far as Sir Keir Starmer is concerned, there is no principle requiring anyone who defects from one party to another to stand for re-election, the spokesman said: “Correct.”

    On whether Wakeford will face a trigger ballot in the coming months, the spokesman added: “We’ll set out all of the process, obviously, once we’ve had a chance to speak to people, the relevant people that vote in the local party and nationally, and we’ll happily set out the process at that point.

    “But I don’t want to pre-empt that now.”

  6. From BBC Live – Christian Wakeford’s defection from the Conservative Party to Labour “was a terrible mistake”, a Tory MP has told the BBC.

    Conservative MP Jake Berry said he thought Wakeford had “misjudged the mood of the parliamentary party” and of his constituents in Bury South.

    Berry said he spent time campaigning for Wakeford ahead of the 2019 general election, which saw a number of seats in northern England switch from Labour to the Conservatives.

    “If you look at the [Bury South] constituency, it has the largest Jewish population in the north of England,” Berry told Politics Live. “I was out knocking on doors with him when they were saying, we cannot back Labour and it’s not a party that speaks for us because of anti-Semitism.”

    The Labour Party was dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

    Berry also said there was “a wellspring of support for our PM Boris Johnson” at the 2019 election.

    “I don’t think that’s gone away and I think Christian has made a mistake,” Berry said. “I think it’s slightly hot-headed of him.”

  7. “He said the UK is need of a government that is willing to tackle the cost of living crisis and in creating a path out of the pandemic that protects living standards and the social security of the wider population.

    “Sadly both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves. I can no longer support a government that has shown itself inconsistently out of touch with the hard working people of Bury South and the country as a whole,” he added.”

    Wah hah hah hah hah hah!!!!! So he crosses The Aisle to sit with the infinitely worse Thatcherite Neoliberal Neo-Labour Party TORY SCUM who did nothing but Sabotage a UK Labour Party Government in 2017/2019 and the only two opportunities The PEOPLE had to end 43 years of Neoliberal TORY HELL!
    Bury South sharpen your pencils Vote the Bastard TORY OUT! If you have a Democratic Socialist of any Party VOTE THEM IN! We only have 15 left in HoC. 15 People who will work towards The Best Interest and Stand Up, Speak Up FOR The PEOPLE not The Elites/Establishment!
    A TORY is a TORY no matter what side of the Aisle they sit!

    19 Jan 2022
    Exclusive: ‘Red wall’ voters turn against Tories, poll suggests
    Gary Gibbon Political Editor
    Labour is in the lead by 11 points in “red wall” seats, according to an exclusive poll commissioned by Channel 4 News………
    The poll, which was conducted by J.L. Partners, puts support for the Labour Party at 48% in these areas and the Conservative Party at 37%…….
    ………The figures suggest if an election took place now the Tories would lose all but three of their red wall seats, with just Dudley North, Bassetlaw and Great Grimsby staying Conservative.

    1. Cheap and Nasties disappearing up their own backsides combined with a Socialist of integrity and a manifesto to match would walk the next GE

    2. Did they specify which TORIES? Thatcherite Neoliberal Neo-Labour Party TORY SCUM or Thatcherite Neoliberal Conservative Party TORY SCUM? Or did you just jump to TORY conclusions? Then again the Spinmeisters are off playing with the top 5%, so what do they know of the “Undeserving Poor”? Red Wall, Blue Wall, Orange Wall, you can’t get the demographic’s of the “Undeserving Poor” by cutting them out and ignoring them, but they will still be there to vote, it would be GREAT if we crashed both TORY SCUM Parties! For now The Neo-Labour Party TORY SCUM will do!

      1. nellyskelly – Are you confused? All I’ve done is draw attention to the latest polling whose principal findings are that in Red Wall Seats Labour are 11% points in the lead. If you want to look at the poll in more detail I’ve given you the the source material.

  9. Here’s the latest analysis from Survation.

    MRP analysis on voting behaviour and standards previously conducted on behalf of 38 Degrees puts political context upon Christian Wakeford’s defection in Bury South.

    Our most recent MRP update indicated Labour’s vote share estimate in Bury South is 52% (+9 since GE 2019) with the party enjoying a 16 point lead* over the Conservatives on 35% (-8).

    The majority of Christian Wakeford’s Bury South constituents have a negative view of the standards and principles upheld by the Conservative Government.

    The North West as a region rates the Government the lowest of any English region in terms of upholding Nolan principles and standards.

    Labour leads the Conservatives in the North West by 22 points LAB 53% (+6), CON 30% (-8) LD 6% (-1) GRE 5% (+2) AP 6% (-) (Changes vs 2019 GE)

    Data in the research derived from 9,602 interviews conducted online by Survation and analysed by Professor Chris Hanretty of Royal Holloway, University of London.

    Survation are continuously tracking political attitudes on behalf of 38 Degrees, and in conjunction with Professor Chris Hanretty of Royal Holloway, University of London, produce estimates of opinion down to region and constituency level.

    Given yesterday’s defection of Conservative Bury South MP Christian Wakeford we would like to highlight that we do have a reliable indication of current political thinking in the Bury South constituency and the North West of England.

    Professor Chris Hanretty and Survation’s 2019 MRP model predicted 94.3% of Westminster seats, the most accurate forecast using the technique ever conducted.

    MRP derived current voting Intention in Bury South, changes vs GE 2019 – 16 point* Labour Lead
    Current Bury South Estimate … 35
    GE 2019 Actual … 43.8
    % change … -8

    Current Bury South Estimate … 52
    GE 2019 Actual … 43
    % change … +9

    *Rounded figures imply a 17 point Labour lead.

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