Natalie Elphicke’s Defection to Labour Stirs Turmoil

In a strange move, former Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke crossed the House of Commons, defecting to Labour. While it looks like a massive win for Labour, it’s not the coup some would claim. 

Defections From Tories Mounting 

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Elphicke isn’t the first Tory to leave. Dan Poulter recently crossed the divide and joined Labour. In March, Lee Anderson defected to Reform. Dan Barker, the Conservative candidate for the Manchester Mayoral election, followed him. 

PR Win for Labour

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Such a public defection is a big PR win for Labour. Having had two relatively prominent Tory MPs defect in recent weeks, it’s a sign to the public that the Tories are losing grip and Labour are occupying the centre ground.

Despite That, It’s Not a Political Win

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In many ways, these defections are a paper win. Neither Elphicke nor Poulter was due to stand again in the upcoming elections, which means that while they give Labour a headline, it doesn’t give them any real political power.

Why Did Elphicke Defect?

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The MP for Dover said she left because “Conservatives have become a byword for incompetence and division. From small boats to biosecurity, Rishi Sunak’s government is failing to keep our borders safe and secure. Lives are being lost in the English Channel while small boat arrivals are once again at record levels. It’s clear they have failed to keep our borders secure and cannot be trusted.”

Defection Is a Surprise, Given Previous Political Stance

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Elphicke was always seen as a right-of-centre Tory and had been critical of Labour several times on social media. Many have pointed to her comments on social media, such as “Don’t trust Labour on immigration they really want open borders, warns Natalie Elphicke.”

What Has Starmer Said?

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He welcomed the defection, saying he was “delighted” and it showed Labour is “the party of the national interest”. 

Line of Attack Continued

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During PMQs, he asked, “What is the point of this failed government staggering on when the Tory MP for Dover, on the front line of the small boats crisis, says the prime minister cannot be trusted with our borders and joins Labour?”

Sunak Had Little to Say

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The PM’s press secretary said, “I wouldn’t get into conversations between the PM and his colleagues. What I can say though is I’m sure it will come as a surprise to her constituents, given that they are on the front line of the illegal immigration issue and she has spent years tweeting about how Labour have absolutely no plan to deal with this.”

Conservative Response to Defection

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Several Tories have attacked Elphicke for switching sides. Huw Merriman called Elphicke a “shameless opportunist.” He also said, “I’m just disappointed for politics that she’s done what she’s done.” 

Dame Andrea Jenkyns Took to Social Media

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Former minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns commented via X, “you were a centre right Conservative, Labour want to give asylum to 50,000 plus people. I thought you had more conviction than to join the lefty labour lot you despised so much!”

Not All Labour Party Members Happy

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A high-profile defection is usually met with almost universal celebration and welcome from the new party. Not in this case, though. Elphicke has had one or two troubled moments in the past, and unsurprisingly, they’ve been mentioned. 

Labour Colleagues Have Difficulty With Her Previous Comments

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Labour MP Sarah Champion said “some of the things Mrs Elphicke had said defending her ex-husband from the sexual abuse allegations” did not “sit well with me at all”. She went on to say (about the two former Tory MPs in Labour ranks), “I think their policies and their belief systems are so far from mine but we are where we are I guess.”

Labour MP Rosie Duffield Said About the Defection

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“I think it’s a really peculiar decision and I think most Labour backbenchers and probably lots of Tories are really quite baffled by it, actually.” She said she didn’t “believe for a second that she has suddenly transformed into a Labour MP”.

Senior Labour Party Members Going Further With Anger

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Mish Rahman, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, isn’t happy about the defection. He said, “The Labour Party should be in the business of changing the country, not saving the careers of Tory politicians who the British public are rejecting because of the damage they’ve done to the country. She’s not fit to be a Labour party member, let alone an MP.”

How Will Starmer Deal With Fall Out?

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The Labour leader will have made a tactical decision here to welcome Elphicke. He must have judged that the wrath of some of his colleagues was worth it for the PR win against the Tories so close to the election. 

What Does It Mean for Labour?

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In reality, very little. Politics is almost daily news, and what seems important now quickly fades. In the coming weeks and months, there are likely to be even more side-switching and stepping-down announcements from others. 

Will Elphicke Continue in Politics?

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The likelihood is no, she won’t. She has already announced her decision not to stand again in the coming elections, and her defection has made it even less likely. Labour already has a candidate in the area, so she’d have to campaign elsewhere, and it’s too late in the day for that.

Paper Win for Labour

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We can chalk this up as a paper win. A right-of-centre MP switching sides could be seen as the Labour Party finally leaving behind its ‘lefty’ label. It might make them more appealing to floating voters who tend to vote Tory.

Hurts Elphicke More Than It Helps Labour

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On balance, this probably hurts Elphicke’s reputation more than it helps Labour’s chances. Labour is expected to win by a mile, with or without Elphicke. For her, though, having been so critical of Labour in the past, she might look a little opportunistic – jumping from the Tory ship before it sinks. 

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The post Political Betrayal or Savvy Move? Natalie Elphicke’s Shocking Defection to Labour Stirs Turmoil first appeared on Edge Media.

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