Connect with us

Published

on

Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke has defected to the Labour Party.

The Dover MP said the change in the Tory Party since she entered parliament in 2019 “has been dramatic and cannot be ignored”.

She hit out at the “broken promises of Rishi Sunak’s tired and chaotic government”, adding that Labour “looks to the future – to building a Britain of hope, optimism, opportunity and fairness”.

Mrs Elphicke is the second Tory MP to move to the Labour Party in 11 days after former minister Dan Poulter defected to the opposition.

Part-time NHS doctor Dr Poulter said he could no longer look his NHS colleagues and patients in the eye and remain a Conservative.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tory MP crosses the floor to Labour benches

Mrs Elphicke “crossed the floor” to the Labour benches moments before Prime Minister’s Questions started on Wednesday at midday, with Tory MPs seen pointing at her.

She previously announced she will not be standing in the next general election.

Sir Keir welcomed her to the party in his opening remarks at PMQs.

In a statement announcing her decision, she said the key deciding factors for switching have been “housing and the safety and security of our borders”.

She said the Conservative Party in 2019 “occupied the centre ground of British politics” and was about “building the future and making the most of the opportunities that lay ahead for our country”.

“Since then, many things have changed,” she added.

“The elected prime minister was ousted in a coup led by the unelected Rishi Sunak.

“Under Rishi Sunak, the Conservatives have become a byword for incompetence and division.

“The centre ground has been abandoned and key pledges of the 2019 manifesto have been ditched.”

She said the Labour Party has also “changed out of all recognition” since then, moving on from Jeremy Corbyn and “under Keir Starmer, occupies the centre ground of British politics”.

“It has accepted Brexit and its economic policies and defence policies are responsible and can be trusted,” she said.

Former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke, with his wife, MP for Dover Natalie Elphicke
Image:
Natalie Elphicke with her ex-husband and former Tory Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, who was imprisoned for two years for sexual assault

Mrs Elphicke has previously been highly critical of Sir Keir, hitting out at him for “ignoring the small boats crisis” in January 2023.

In April last year she wrote an article saying voters should not trust Labour on immigration – one of the key factors she said she was defecting for.

The arrival of asylum seekers in small boats is a major issue in her constituency, with most stepping onto British soil in Dover.

Mrs Elphicke won her seat with 56.9% of the vote after deciding to stand in Dover following her now ex-husband, Charlie Elphicke, being suspended from the Conservative Party and not standing for re-election when he was charged with three counts of sexual assault against two women.

He was found guilty of all counts and sentenced to two years in prison.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

You can receive Breaking News alerts on a smartphone or tablet via the Sky News App. You can also follow @SkyNews on X or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news.

Continue Reading

Politics

Sunak’s Number 10 is much better at keeping secrets than others

Published

on

By

Sunak's Number 10 is much better at keeping secrets than others

Suddenly, at election time, political predictions become so much harder and riskier. Everything changes in a campaign, not least the news cycle.

That’s my excuse, at any rate, for failing to foresee the announcement of a general election in last week’s Politics at Jack and Sam’s.

There were a few clues – and one magisterial tweet from Financial Times journalist Lucy Fisher – but we were deaf to the signals.

👉 Listen above then tap here to follow Politics at Jack and Sam’s wherever you get your podcasts 👈

Pic: Reuters
Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak speaks to journalists on the plane on their way to Staffordshire, Britain May 24, 2024. HENRY NICHOLLS/Pool via REUTERS
Image:
Pic: Reuters

In this week’s Politics At Jack and Sam’s podcast, we reflect how this Number 10 – in big contrast to the last two – is much better at keeping secrets.

But the moment an election is called, the way information gets out alters and everything becomes trickier.

Follow live – general election latest:
Tories attack Starmer’s ‘stamina’ as PM shuns team to campaign

Normally political news emerges in so many different ways. There’s parliament. Government announcements. Questions, written and oral. MPs themselves, including ministers, wandering the corridors of the Commons where journalists can go stopping for a gossip.

All of that disappears at election time. Keeping things secret from the other side matters a lot more, while decisions and information is held by a much tighter group of people.

That’s why it’s not really feasible to do a weekly look ahead political podcast – and we’re responding by going daily. More details to follow.

Rishi Sunak‘s allies are quite upfront that the timing of the general election was a finely balanced argument and you can make a case both ways.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sunak defends wet election announcement

One of the big things that motivated Sunak to go now was that he was doing – in his view – big things; welfare announcements, defence spending commitments, NHS workforce plan.

But they found people weren’t listening and the polls weren’t moving. They weren’t “getting a hearing”. Which they put down to people being switched off from politics and apathy being high – and so the decision to call an election was motivated by that.

The other big consideration was that from around March, early April they were getting internal economic indicators, suggesting the economic conditions – things like inflation, interest rates – might be favourable sufficiently such that they could base a campaign around.

Fascinatingly, they say there wasn’t a “decision” meeting two months ago or even three weeks ago – the move was more like the tide coming in slowly.

Although Labour were caught on the hop – some staff had booked leave, were privately confident there was nothing coming this summer and the Labour campaign bus is not yet ready – candidates claim to be pretty happy with what’s happened so far.

However, the biggest challenge of the next five weeks will be seeing whether they can respond to the pressure of a campaign, and the relentless desire for more of everything.

Currently the narrative is that Sunak had a miserable start – in a few weeks, pictures of the PM in the rain could be a plucky fighter battling against the odds.

This feels unlikely right now, but having been through the 2017 campaign, we know anything can happen.

Continue Reading

Politics

Trump promises to release Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht if re-elected

Published

on

By

Trump promises to release Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht if re-elected

Former United States President Donald Trump vows to free Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht if re-elected.

Continue Reading

Politics

Donald Trump declares US must not settle for ‘second place’ in crypto industry

Published

on

By

Donald Trump declares US must not settle for ‘second place’ in crypto industry

Former United States President Donald Trump claims he is “very open minded” to “all things related to this new and burgeoning industry.”

Continue Reading

Trending