Three Labour MPs could defect to the Conservatives because they are disillusioned with Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership
- Three Labour MPs are understood to be considering defecting to Conservatives
- They are said to have become disillusioned with Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership
- The three MPs have decided to ‘open lines of communication’ with Tory whips
- A Labour MP has not ‘crossed’ to join the Tory Party since Reg Prentice in 1977
Three Labour MPs are considering defecting to the Conservatives because they have become disillusioned with Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, The Mail on Sunday understands.
The MPs decided during last week’s Labour conference in Brighton to ‘open lines of communication’ with Tory whips about switching parties.
They are understood to be in despair at Sir Keir’s failure to make inroads into Boris Johnson’s opinion poll lead – as well as Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner branding the Conservatives as ‘racist’ and ‘scum’.
A Labour MP has not ‘crossed the floor’ to join the Tory Party since Reg Prentice defected in 1977.
And last night party insiders conceded it would be a massive blow to Sir Keir’s already beleaguered leadership.
Three Labour MPs are considering defecting to the Conservatives because they have become disillusioned with Sir Keir Starmer’s (pictured) leadership
It also comes against the backdrop of traditional Labour voters ditching their life-long party allegiance at the 2019 General Election to vote Tory in what was Labour’s ‘Red Wall’ of seats in the North and Midlands.
Ironically, the defection threat emerged after Sir Keir’s camp won plaudits for ‘banishing the Left’ at last week’s conference and returning the party to a New Labour-style drive for power.
His inner circle was also jubilant that ‘for the first time in a decade’ the party conference had cheered and applauded the achievements of the Blair/Brown era when Sir Keir set them out in his conference speech.
In internal party rule changes agreed last week, he was also credited with ensuring that an arch Left-winger like Jeremy Corbyn could never again get on the party leadership ballot paper.
In future contests, potential candidates must be nominated by 20 per cent of the parliamentary party – about 40 MPs at present – a threshold considered to be too high for the Left of the party to achieve.
But The Mail on Sunday understands that the progress made by Sir Keir has failed to convince the three Labour MPs that it is worth staying with the party.
The rule changes have sparked fury on the party’s Left.
Only last week, Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle laid into Sir Keir’s ‘goddamn awful leadership’, saying he might be a ‘very nice man’ but he was ‘not a politician for the Labour Party’.
The MPs decided during last week’s Labour conference in Brighton (pictured) to ‘open lines of communication’ with Tory whips about switching parties
Speaking at a rally on the fringe of the party conference, Mr Russell-Moyle tore into the leader, saying: ‘No politician worth their salt would waste the whole of conference to try to introduce rule changes like they did.’
He also urged Left-wing activists to stay with the Labour Party and fight back, saying: ‘If we organise, if we prepare, if we stay in the party… next time… we will have new leadership.’
Mr Russell-Moyle told The Mail on Sunday last night he believed Sir Keir was ‘not a natural politician’ even if he was a ‘good man’.
However, he vowed to campaign for him to become Prime Minister ‘because he is better than any Tory’.
One Starmer ally said it was the takeover of Labour under Mr Corbyn that had led to its ‘utterly disastrous’ 2019 Election result, handing Mr Johnson an 80-strong majority and leaving the party with just 199 seats now.
Both Labour and the Tories have been hit by a string of defections since 2017 over their Brexit policies, with departing MPs mostly becoming independents or forming a new party.
Reg Prentice left Labour after battles with constituency Left-wingers and was elected as a Tory in 1979.
A health minister in the Thatcher government, he stepped down as an MP in 1987, becoming Baron Prentice of Daventry.
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