“I would like to welcome Christian Wakeford to the Labour Party,’ says Sir Keir Starmer
As the prime minister faces the escalating threat of a leadership challenge over allegations of rule-breaking parties in No 10, meneer Keir Starmer welcomed the Bury South MP into Labour’s ranks.
Just yesterday, the former Tory MP submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson to the chair of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, amid wider discontent on the Conservative benches.
But in correspondence with the prime minister on Wednesday, Mr Wakeford revealed his decision to quit the party altogether, sê: “My decision is about much more than your leadership and the disgraceful way you have conducted yourself in recent weeks”.
In a coup for the Labour leader – announced just over 10 minutes before prime minister’s questions – Sir Keir welcomed Mr Wakeford to Labour, insisting “he has always put the people of Bury South first”.
“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.”
Hy het bygevoeg: “Labour are the only ones who have put forward a plan to help people through the Tory cost of living crisis.
“I’m determined to build a new Britain which guarantees security, prosperity and respect for all and I’m delighted that Christian has decided to join us in this endeavour.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, Mr Wakeford, who was first elected in 2019 in the constituency that had elected Labour politicians since 1997, said the country needed “a government that upholds the highest standards of integrity and probity in public life”,
Egter, he went on: “Sadly both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves.”
Mr Wakeford, who said he had “wrestled with my conscience” for months over the decision, went on: “I can no longer support a government that has shown itself consistently out of touch with the hard working people of Bury South and the country as a whole.
“Under Keir Starmer, the Labour Party is back firmly in the centre of British politics, in touch with working people, and ready to provide an alternative government that this country can be proud of, and not embarrassed by.
“My decision is about much more than your leadership and the disgraceful way you have conducted yourself in recent weeks.
“Maar, I don’t believe all politicians are the same and I do believe in the power of politics to be a force for good. So does Keir Starmer. He has shown that integrity in the way he has led his party on issues that matter to me, not least the vital challenge of combatting antisemitism.
“I will always put the people of Bury South first and will continue to speak out for the changes the area needs. Changes that can only be delivered by a Labour government with Keir Starmer.”
Facing the news of the defection at prime minister’s questions amid cheers on the Labour benchers, Mr Johnson said: “As for Bury South, let me say to him, the Conservative Party won Bury South for the first time in a generation under this prime minister on an agenda of of uniting and levelling up and delivering for the people of Bury South.”
“We will win again in Bury South," hy het bygevoeg.