'We don't like turncoats!' Tory MPs rally behind Boris Johnson after Wakeford defection


David Davis tells Boris Johnson ‘in the name of God, go’

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford, 37, might have thought he heaped the pressure on Boris Johnson, 57, on Wednesday when he defected to the Labour Party. However, Conservative MPs have said Mr Wakeford’s defection and the subsequent call from ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis, 73, for the Prime Minister to resign has helped boost Tory support for Mr Johnson.

One Conservative MP told Express.co.uk: “The actions of Mr Wakeford and Mr Davis yesterday have had the effect of uniting the party behind the Prime Minister.

“Tory MPs don’t like turncoats and that combined with Boris’ robust performance at Prime Minister’s Questions has certainly boosted support for the Prime Minister.

He added: “MPs need to get a grip and back Boris.

“The UK has had the best vaccine programme in the world, we have been able to lift restrictions ahead of any other European country, and we have the fastest growing economy in the G7, all thanks to Boris.

“He deserves all Conservative MPs support and will get mine.”

Mr Johnson was expected to face a leadership challenge earlier this week after ex-ally Andrew Bridgen, 57, told GB News he thought enough letters were going to be submitted to the 1922 Committee to necessitate a vote of confidence.

However, following Mr Johnson’s performance on Wednesday, some MPs are reported to have withdrawn their letters from the group’s chairman Sir Graham Brady, 54.

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'We don't like turncoats!' Tory MPs rally behind Boris Johnson after Wakeford defection

‘We don’t like turncoats!’ Tory MPs rally behind Boris Johnson after Wakeford defection (Image: Getty)

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford (left) defected to join Sir Keir Starmer (right) in the Labour Party.

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford (left) defected to join Sir Keir Starmer (right) in Labour (Image: PA)

Other Tory MPs have also gone on the record to voice their support for Mr Johnson.

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith, 41, told Express.co.uk: “I think we should avoid jumping to conclusions or making any rash decisions until Sue Gray has published her report.

“I do think the current situation has been turned into a hatchet job by some, and many opponents of the Prime Minister see it as an opportunity to do what they’ve been unable to at the ballot box.”

He added: “I thought the Prime Minister gave an excellent performance at PMQs this week, and with the announcement that we are now coming out of restrictions, it shows we’ve been right to pursue the path we have.

“If we’d have done what others wanted we’d have still been in lockdown now.

“Instead, we are now the most successful country in Europe in terms of beating Covid and getting our economy back on track.

“I’m glad he called out the hypocrisy of the opposition and rather than the defection causing the ‘domino effect’ they were hoping for, all it served to do was embolden and galvanise MPs, especially in the new intake.

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Boris Johnson (left) and ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis (right)

Boris Johnson (left) and ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis (right) (Image: Getty)

“Now Labour are being attacked by their own CLPs who want to know why they have admitted somebody elected as a Conservative MP but won’t let Jeremy Corbyn back in.”

Speaking about how Mr Johnson could take back control of the Conservative Party, the Red Wall MP said the Government need to go “gangbusters” on illegal immigration and the cost of living while championing the Prime Minister’s record on Brexit, the vaccine rollout and the economy.

However, while MPs accept the defection has helped bolster support for Mr Johnson, not all of the Prime Minister’s Conservative colleagues have come to his defence.

Another Tory MP told Express.co.uk: “I’m honestly not sure how the mood has changed.

“I was out of Westminster all day on Wednesday with my select committee on visits.

“I suspect the defection has made those considering letters early hold back.”

He also claimed Mr Johnson could survive ‘partygate’ but stressed the investigation conducted by civil servant Sue Gray, 64, would be “critical for many colleagues”.

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“I do think the current situation has been turned into a hatchet job by some” (Image: GB News/Twitter)

“They know that Boris is their best chance of re-election.” (Image: Oscar Reddrop)

Despite fending off Tory rebels earlier this week, the Prime Minister suffered yet another blow after Hazel Grove MP William Wragg, 34, accused the Government of blackmailing MPs who have been considering handing in letters of no confidence.

But an ex-Red Wall staffer has claimed Mr Wragg’s intervention will do little to topple Mr Johnson.

Oscar Reddrop, 27, who now works as a public affairs consultant, said: “I don’t think that made things more dangerous for Boris at all.

“The blunt and honest truth here is that’s just how the Government works.”

Mr Reddrop also cautioned Tory MPs not to put faith in potential leadership challengers.

He added: “They know that Boris is their best chance of re-election.

“He was the man that turned communities blue for the first time in generations, and Rishi Sunak doesn’t work in the Red Wall, Liz Truss doesn’t work in the Red Wall and Jeremy Hunt certainly doesn’t work in the Red Wall.”


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