CHRIS MASON: Another wound was the departure of the Conservative Labor Party

  • By Chris Mason
  • Political teacher

image caption, Dover MP Natalie Elphicke – here with former immigration minister Robert Jenrick – came moments before the PMQs began.

Another Conservative MP

Deviations don’t happen often.

Or at least they don’t during normal times.

But just days after former Tory minister Dan Boulter defected to Labour, so has Natalie Elphicke.

Not surprisingly, Sir Keir Starmer wanted to talk about small boat crossings in the Channel before Prime Minister’s Questions began.

Natalie Elphicke Dover MP

Defections are head-scratching for Aboriginal Westminster.

They will boost the morale of the new incoming party, and the MP. They weaken the party left, especially when it is from the ruling party to the main opposition party.

Why? They reveal very clearly what an opposition party is trying to do more broadly – persuade people who have recently supported the Conservatives to switch to Labour.

And party politics words from a defecting MP have the added potential to hurt given their previous political home.

“The elected prime minister was ousted in a coup led by the unelected Rishi Sunak. Under Rishi Sunak, the conservatives became a byword for incompetence and division.

“The central ground has been abandoned and the key promises of the 2019 manifesto have been abandoned. Meanwhile the Labor Party has become all but unrecognisable.”

You won’t be surprised to hear from a Labor MP.

But those were the words of a former Conservative MP just hours ago.

But Keir Starmer will be delighted with the images welcoming Natalie Elphick to the side of the House of Commons.

The two will soon be seen exchanging handshakes, kind words and wide smiles for the cameras.

Sitting in the press gallery here, Keir Starmer had a moment to cheer about his latest new MP.

There was a gasp and confusion from many on the Conservative benches.

The news was only announced at midday and scores of Tory MPs said their former colleague was now sitting opposite them – directly behind Sir Keir, so the camera shot him as he spoke – rather than beside them.

A senior Conservative source will not be impressed to learn the Prime Minister has lost another of her MPs.

The source said the news would “come as a surprise to his constituents who are at the forefront of the illegal immigration issue”.

They added that Natalie Elphick’s social media feeds were a “treasure trove of Labour’s weaknesses” – the party she now sits as an MP for.

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