No10 fear over Red Wall 'chicken run' defections to Labour

No10 fear a ‘chicken run’ of Red Wall defections to Labour as Tories worry about losing their seats at the next general election

  • Last week a bombshell MoS poll showed there had been a mid-term crash in support in the 57 former Labour and marginal seats gained by the Tories in 2019
  • News that PM had entered New Year 16 points behind Labour saw ‘Red Wallers’ scrambling for ideas to keep constituents onside
  • Talk immediately turned to submitting letters of no-confidence in PM amid fears he is becoming a drag on their fortunes

Boris Johnson’s Government is on high alert for potential defections to Labour by ‘Red Wall’ Tory MPs worried about losing their seats at the next election.

Last week a bombshell Mail on Sunday poll showed there had been a mid-term crash in support in the 57 former Labour and marginal seats gained by the Tories in 2019.

The news that the Prime Minister had entered the New Year 16 points behind Labour saw ‘Red Wallers’ scrambling for ideas to keep constituents onside.

Talk immediately turned to submitting letters of no-confidence in the Prime Minister amid fears he is becoming a drag on their fortunes.

Now party whips are concerned that some of them might attempt a ‘chicken run’ to a safe Labour seat – or switch sides in the same seat.

Boris Johnson’s Government is on high alert for potential defections to Labour by ‘Red Wall’ Tory MPs worried about losing their seats at the next election. Last week a bombshell Mail on Sunday poll showed there had been a mid-term crash in support in the 57 former Labour and marginal seats gained by the Tories in 2019


Voting records show that in this parliamentary session, 15 Tory MPs representing former Labour strongholds or marginals have voted against the Conservatives on five or more occasions. Among them are Dehenna Davison (left), MP for Bishop Auckland; Lee Anderson (right), MP for Ashfield; Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington; and Imran Ahmad Khan, the suspended MP for Wakefield

The Red Wall MPs, who were elected on a tide of support for Mr Johnson’s push to ‘get Brexit done’, fear for their futures as voters increasingly question No 10’s approach.

It comes as new analysis by this newspaper reveals a concerted pushback by a small core of Tory MPs against No 10. 

Voting records show that in this parliamentary session, 15 Tory MPs representing former Labour strongholds or marginals have voted against the Conservatives on five or more occasions. 

Among them are Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland; Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield; Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington; and Imran Ahmad Khan, the suspended MP for Wakefield.

Last night, one MP told The Mail on Sunday that ‘dividing lines’ appeared to be emerging between the actions of the leadership and the concerns of their voters.

Analysis of latest voting behaviour shows that Mr Jenkinson – whose Workington seat had been held by the Labour party for 40 years before the Tories took it two years ago – has voted seven times against the Tory majority since May.

He has fervently opposed stringent Covid regulations, as has Ms Davison.

Last week’s MoS poll of the Red Wall and marginal seats put Labour on 49 per cent and the Conservatives on just 33 per cent in the event of a General Election. The poll also put Sir Keir Starmer’s party ahead in national voting intention, with Labour on 40 per cent and the Tories on 35 per cent

Records also reveal Tories including Robert Largan and Elliot Colburn of High Peak and Carshalton and Wallington respectively – both marginal seats – backed a move to allow MPs to debate sanctions relating to bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct allegations in flagrant disregard of the Tory position.

Last week, Mr Anderson said his constituents were more concerned about the rising cost of living, rather than No 10’s green agenda, a sentiment echoed by Lord Frost in today’s MoS exclusive interview.

Although the rebels insist there have been no discussions about possible defections, No 10 is on alert, as the Tory policy chasm appears to deepen.

Last week’s MoS poll of the Red Wall and marginal seats put Labour on 49 per cent and the Conservatives on just 33 per cent in the event of a General Election.

The poll also put Sir Keir Starmer’s party ahead in national voting intention, with Labour on 40 per cent and the Tories on 35 per cent.

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