Reform UK Sound Out Conservative Defectors

Reform UK is stepping up their charge on the Conservative party, by targeting elected defectors. A co-conspirator has been in touch to share a Reform party mail-out, sent en masse to Conservative councillors asking them to “put country before party” and abandon ship. They’ve even set up a helpline.

Guido called the number, where Reform claimed there had been “quite a bit of interest” and said any Tory defectors would be “front of the queue” for selection to a parliamentary constituency. Loyal Reform candidates might not be so pleased…

It comes as the party continues to make gains in membership as they see near unprecedented highs in recent polls. A Reform source says “many thousand” Tories have paid up. They estimate they’ve taken 5-10% of Tory Members.

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Johnny Mercer on Defecting to Labour

One of the many rumours doing the rounds in Westminster last night was whether any further Tory MPs might look at the dire state of the party’s electoral fortunes and copy Christian Wakeford in crossing the floor to Labour. Wakeford himself was seen holding court on cloud nine, and acknowledged said defection rumours, as Sir Keir visited the terrace to drink with MPs. Something a media source says has been happening increasingly frequently. 

How substantive are the rumours? Guido’s heard a few names over the past week, among them Johnny Mercer. In a new interview with Alastair Campbell, the former Labour spin doctor addresses the question head-on. The answers might not reassure Wendy Morton…

Campbell: Okay. Imagine they were to say to you, ‘Johnny, do you think we would be better off under Keir Starmer’s Labour or Liz Truss’s Tories?’ What would you say?

Mercer: [long pause]

Campbell: That is a long pause.

Mercer: I don’t know what to say. I’m not a libertarian. The Tories can go in that direction, but I don’t have to.


Mercer: What do you think I should do?

Campbell: Off the record?

Mercer: On the record.

Campbell: Well, you came into politics not knowing whether you were Tory or Labour. You decided Tory was closer to what you think. You’ve achieved a fair bit of what you wanted to, but you’ve been stiffed badly by one Prime Minister, and even worse by his successor. I think you’re more likely to achieve what you want to by going the whole hog and saying to people, ‘If I can get Labour to do this, I will back them and get other people to back them, too.’ That is what I would do.

Mercer: You would do that if you were me?

Campbell: I would. You’re not a tribal Tory. I admit to a vested interest here as a Labour supporter. But I really do believe the best way to achieve what you want is to get Labour to commit to what you’re asking for.

Mercer: That would certainly make my life difficult – if Labour committed to my defining reason for being in politics, while the Tories remained where we are.

Despite this eyebrow-raising interaction, Guido understands Mercer has no plans to defect, his preferred style being to go down with the ship. Can the Chief Whip be sure all Tory MPs hold the same noble view?

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Three Labour MPs May Defect to Tories

This morning the Mail on Sunday carries the eye-catching exclusive that three Labour MPs are on the verge of defecting to the Tories. Glen Owen and Brendan Carlin claim this is due to disillusionment with Starmer’s leadership, with the MPs already having opened up “lines of communication” with Tory whips. In related news, a senior Labour MP was spotted by a co-conspirator chatting with two Mail on Sunday hacks and three senior Tory advisors at a conference bar last night…

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Sarah Wollaston’s Successor Introducing Bill to Force Recall Petitions for Defecting MPs

New Tory MP Anthony Mangnall is to propose a Private Members Bill tomorrow that would make MPs that switch parties face recall petitions and potentially by-elections. The bill hopes to amend the Recall of MPs Act (2015) to add a fourth criterion that would enable a recall petition for MPs who voluntarily change their political party affiliation mid-parliament. A step in the right direction, although Guido would prefer a real right of recall, with no conditions needing to be met in order to petition…

The bill is personal to Mangnall, who represents Totnes – the former seat of Sarah Wollaston. Wollaston switched parties three times in her final year as an MP: from Tory to The Independent Group for Change in February; to an independent MP in June; and to the LibDems in August. Not once did she, or any other LibDem or Independent Group for Change MPs, seek the consent of their constituents…

Read the proposed bill in full here:

Read More

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Phillip Lee Ruins Lib Dem Reshuffle Plans by Delaying Defection

Arch-Remainer Tory and cringe-worthy ‘Great British Hero’ Phillip Lee has declared he is to spend the summer considering whether to defect to the Lib Dems, finally wiping out the Tory’s one* seat majority. While the news will not come as a surprise to most Brexiteers, the wait to hear his decision has apparently disrupted new Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson’s reshuffle plans, who Guido hears had been delaying the party’s reshuffle in advance of the Lee’s anticipated defection. 

On the On The House’ podcast, Lee described politics as “like plate tectonics […] and I feel like I’m straddling the San Andreas Fault of the Conservative party at the moment” going onto reiterate his opposition to no deal and saying “I’m going to spend the summer thinking” about jumping ship to the Lib Dems. No doubt it will have been a blow to Lee’s ego that it took three days for anyone to notice his big announcement…

*In practice three, including the suspended Charlie Elphicke and assuming the Lib Dems win the Brecon by-election…

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Defection Watch

Defections seem closer than ever, and rumours of a new centrist split in the Labour Party are reaching fever pitch. Guido has therefore begun a handy crowd sourced ‘defection watch’ list for co-conspirators to keep track of MPs on the verge of ditching their respective parties. You can send in your suggestions/tips here

mdi-timer 13 February 2019 @ 14:38 13 Feb 2019 @ 14:38 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments