Bury South MP defects to Labour, saying PM is ‘incapable of offering leadership’

Christian Wakeford

Bury South Conservative MP Christian Wakeford has defected to join the Labour benches.

He won the seat in the 2019 General Election as part of the ‘Red Wall’ of Labour seats that switched allegiance to the Tories.

Mr Wakeford announced his defection, telling Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “You and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves.”

He was sitting on the opposition benches, sporting a Union flag facemask, during today’s Prime Minister’s Question Time.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “I would like to welcome Christian Wakeford to the Labour Party. He has always put the people of Bury South first.

“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.”

He added that he was happy to welcome any other MPs who want to defect.

The PM responded, saying the Conservatives won Bury South under him and added: “We will win again at the next election under this prime minister”.

Burnley-born Mr Wakeford, 37, won the seat with a majority of 402. The swing to the Tories in once-safe Labour seats was interpreted as a reaction to the tenure of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose policies were deemed too hard left for many.

After studying for a degree in Politics at Lancaster University, Mr Wakeford was employed as an indirect account manager at a telecoms company for four years, from October 2009 to October 2013. While there he undertook an undergraduate degree in Chemistry through the Open University from 2010 to 2014.

Since May 2013, he was a Conservative county councillor for Pendle Hill division on Lancashire County Council. From January 2015 to January 2016, he was a House of Commons case worker for Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson.

In May 2015, he became a Conservative borough councillor for Barrowford ward on Pendle Borough Council. Since March 2018, he has been co-chair of Lancashire County Council’s Education Scrutiny Committee.

From 2019 to 2020, he was leader of the Conservative Group on Pendle Borough Council.