Labour civil war as 'sphinx-like' Rayner clashes with Starmer over Wakeford defection

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The deputy leader of the Labour Party appeared cool and collected while Sir Keir gave an impassioned speech welcoming Red Wall MP Christian Wakeford to the party at Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions. The Bury South MP was booed in the Commons by Tories after defecting.

The MP announced his defection just minutes before Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced MPs for a grilling.

During a speech in the Commons, the Labour leader said: “I would like to welcome Christian Wakeford to the Labour Party.

“He has always put the people of Bury South first.

“As Christian said, the policies of the Conservative Government are doing nothing to help the people of Bury South and, indeed, are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse.”

Mr Wakeford took his seat on the Opposition benches and opted to sit in the second row behind the Labour leader.

Despite the Tories booing him, Labour MPs cheered when he arrived in the Commons ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions.

While there may have been a difference in opinion between the two parties, according to body language expert Judi James, there may have also been contrasting views within the Labour Party.

Ms James analysed Angela Rayner’s body language and pointed out that there were signals which suggest there may have been a clash between her and Sir Keir’s views.

READ MORE: Tory MP DEFECTS to Labour – Red Wall MP pulls rug from under Boris

Ms Rayner’s reaction appeared to be consistent with a lot of Corbynites on social media too.

Young Labour were particularly vocal about their opposition to the move and claimed Mr Wakeford “should not be admitted to the Labour Party”, adding that “Young Labour does not welcome him”.

In a tweet, they wrote: “Christian Wakeford MP should not be admitted to the Labour Party. He has consistently voted against the interests of working-class people; for the £20 universal credit cut, for the Nationality and Borders Bill and for the Police and Crime Bill. Young Labour does not welcome him.”

They added: “Christian Wakeford himself co-sponsored a bill mandating by-elections for MPs who change party affiliation.

“The Labour Party must uphold Bury South members’ right to choose their own Labour candidate and constituents should be able to reassess their MP.

Political organisation Momentum also chimed in with their thoughts writing “A man with his politics has no place in the Labour Party.”

The group was particularly supportive during the Jeremy Corbyn era of Labour and they shared a thread noting policies that Mr Wakeford had voted against.

When asked about his arrival, Ms Rayner said she “welcomes” Mr Wakeford but stopped short of endorsing his voting record.

She said: “I welcome it, I really welcome it.”

She did not answer any questions about his voting.



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