“The Labour Party flaunting in the media as the natural home for those elected on the 2019 Conservative manifesto but simply unhappy with the conduct of Boris Johnson at least raises as many questions as it solves.”
By Ian Lavery MP
The Conservative Party is in meltdown.
As more and more revelations about various parties held in Downing Street throughout the pandemic are unearthed, the Prime Minister faces intense pressure from within his party and beyond to step down.
On Tuesday the Metropolitan Police finally announced that they would be launching their own inquiry on top of the report into the lockdown breaches being investigated by Sue Gray of which the date of release is still unknown.
The Tory party seems deeply split on whether the Prime Minister should resign or not. Senior back benchers such as David Davis have dramatically called for the Prime Minister to resign, while senior members in his cabinet, who have rode his coattails to the top, continue to steadfastly defend him.
But such divisions run far deeper within a fundamentally fragmented Conservative Party held together by an incredibly fragile coalition.
The new Red Wall Tory MPs have a fundamentally opposing sense of what it means to be a Conservative than the High Tory Shire MPs, who are themselves at odds with the Libertarianism of those such as Steve Baker as well as the modern liberal Remainers embodied by the likes of Rory Stewart.
This melting point of ideas and ideologies is bound to overflow sooner of later. The only reason it has been allowed to develop at all is based on the electoral success and campaign abilities of Boris Johnson. Now a fatally wounded beast, the future seems at best uncertain for the Tories.
Perhaps the biggest blow to the Prime Minister so far was the defection of Christian Wakeford, the newly elected Conservative MP for Bury South in 2019, over to the Labour Party.
The defection has been hailed as a huge victory by the Labour front bench who welcomed Wakeford with open arms as an example that it is now OK for those who voted Tory in 2019 to lend their support once again to Labour.
But perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not, the defection has once again opened up fresh wounds about the fragmentation that plagues the Labour Party as well.
While clearly people and politicians can change their views, sometimes dramatically, the Labour Party flaunting in the media as the natural home for those elected on the 2019 Conservative manifesto but simply unhappy with the conduct of Boris Johnson at least raises as many questions as it solves.
Would it be the case that someone with the record of Wakeford, openly and repeatedly insulting new comrades as well as the front bench themselves in the very recent past, would pass the normal vetting process?
There are plenty of people across the country who have helped out in their community and organisations such as food banks, who faced immense pressure following the £20 universal credit cut that Mr Wakeford only recently voted for, facing tougher scrutiny than those who made these organisations necessary.
Alongside these points, the glaring elephant in the room is that a former leader of the Labour Party from only 2 years ago, a staunch campaigner for decades behind the principles that have always defined the essence of the Labour Party, finds himself still without the whip.
The Labour Party should be and must be a broad church. But if the party is broad enough to welcome Christian Wakeford into the party then it is broad enough to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.
Our country has huge challenges facing it in the years ahead and needs a strong united Labour Party more than ever to lead it through them. We owe it to the people to unite against the Tories behind radical solutions that transform the lives and opportunities of the ordinary man and woman in our communities up and down the country.