Boris Johnson has been hit by the defection of a ‘Red Wall’ MP to Labour as the prime minister battles to save his leadership.
Christian Wakeford, the MP for Bury South, said the country needs a government that “upholds the highest standards of integrity and probity” but told Johnson: “Both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves”.
His move was announced just minutes before a session of Prime Minister’s Questions, with the timing calculated to cause maximum damage to Johnson.
Wakeford won Bury South, which had elected a Labour MP at every election since 1997, in 2019.
And Keir Starmer kicked off PMQs by “warmly welcoming” Wakeford to the Labour benches.
The Labour leader said: “Like so 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.
“Whereas the Labour Party stands ready to provide an alternative government that the country can be proud of. 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, prosperity and respect is welcome in my Labour Party.”