MPs who have moved across the political spectrum | Conservatives
Christian Wakeford has told Boris Johnson the Tories ‘have failed to deliver’ the ‘government this country deserves’, in a parting shot as he defected to Labour.
But the MP for Bury South, who submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister, is not the first to defect to another party over disagreements with management. Here are some famous cases of MPs moving across the political spectrum.
Tory to the Liberal Democrats – Sam Gyimah
Wakefield is not even the first MP to leave due to disagreements with Boris Johnson. Former universities minister Sam Gyimah defected to the Liberal Democrats in 2019, accusing Johnson of “veering towards populism and English nationalism”.
The then East Surrey MP said he quit the Tories to fight the Government’s ‘scorched earth approach’ to delivering Brexit, whatever the cost to the country.
From Labor to the Liberal Democrats (via Change UK) – Luciana Berger
Berger had been a member of the Labor Party but was critical of former leader Jeremy Corbyn. In February 2019, members of his local party briefly proposed motions of no confidence in him for “continually” criticizing Corbyn.
She then joined other former Labor and Conservative MPs to form Change UK, a pro-EU party, but left that group in June 2019 to sit as an independent MP, before joining the Liberal Democrats. She ran unsuccessfully for Finchley and Golders Green in the 2019 general election. When she left Labor for the Lib Dems she said they were ‘the strongest party to stop Brexit’ .
Work to Change the UK – Mike Gapes
Gapes had been a Labor MP for 27 years but left the party because he was unhappy with the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. For Gapes, foreign policy differences were the major factor, and he accused Corbyn in his resignation letter of taking “the wrong side on so many international issues, from Russia to Syria to Venezuela.”
Like Berger, he joined Change UK. In the December 2019 election, Gapes was beaten by Labour’s Sam Tarry.
Conservatives to change the UK – Anna Soubry
Soubry was among a number of MPs who left their political parties due to Brexit unrest. When she left the Conservatives, she said it was because of her party’s rightward shift and support for leaving the EU.
She became leader of Change UK but lost her seat in the 2019 general election, finishing a distant third.
From Tories to Labor – Quentin Davies
Nor is Wakefield the first Tory MP to defect to Labour. In 2007, Quentin Davies took the plunge, “delighting” the new Labor leader Gordon Brown. The MP for Grantham and Stamford made his decision after a clash with then Tory leader David Cameron.
He wrote that the party seemed “to have collectively stopped believing in anything, or standing up for anything.” Cameron responded to Davies saying, “You have made your choice and the British people will make theirs.”
Curators at Ukip – Mark Reckless
The Tory MP for Rochester and Strood was among a number of Tories to defect to Ukip in 2014. The Eurosceptic politician said he did not take the decision lightly, but claimed management conservative was “part of the problem that is holding our country back”.
His announcement came just before the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham and was a blow to Cameron at the time. The defection came eight months before the general election.
At the Ukip conference in Doncaster, Reckless said voters felt “scammed and lied to”, adding: “Today I am quitting the Conservative Party and joining Ukip”. He had wanted more action on a European referendum, taxation and immigration.