CHRISTIAN Wakeford rode Boris Johnson’s Red Wall demolition wave in 2019 to narrowly steal the seat of Bury South.
In the past two years, he has consistently voted for stricter asylum measures, against measures to prevent climate change and against tax avoidance prevention measures.
Supporting the Nationality and Borders Bill, he said asylum seekers “are very often travelling through many safe countries” to reach the UK.
“Essentially they have a shopping trolley as to what they want in this economic migration,” he added.
Christian Wakeford was welcomed with open arms into the Labour Party this week. Keir Starmer was “delighted” to have the now-former Tory on board.
He is unlikely to call a by-election, despite backing legislation mandating them for MPs who change political parties.
Simply, he will sit as a Labour MP – while Jeremy Corbyn does not.
The symbolism of this week in the Labour Party highlights the ideological issues which have only grown under Sir Keir.
There are only two main possible motivations for Wakeford’s defection.
The first is his political survival. Downing Street’s partying has sent the Tories tumbling in the polls, with many analysts suggesting Red Wall seats will come back to Labour in the next election.
Bury South’s narrow majority would inevitably be eroded. By switching, Wakeford has ensured he’ll have more years in the Commons.
But the second – and perhaps more ominous – is that the alliance of the Labour Party to those like Wakeford has become natural.
There’s no doubt that Labour need to win over Conservative voters to get into government. But that can easily be done through effective progressive policy, rather than sliding right on the political spectrum.
Nine per cent of 2015 Tory voters switched to Corbyn in the 2017 election – it can be done.
But the likes of Wakeford would never have defected under Corbyn’s leadership. Imperfect as it was in some ways, the barnstorming leftist policies would be too much for any self-respecting Conservative – or Liberal, for that matter.
Under the insipid, lifeless leadership of Sir Keir, however – it appears switching sides has simply become a journey of going from a centre-right party to another.
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