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Dover MP Natalie Elphicke defects to Labour

Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, Natalie Elphicke, has defected to Labour in a statement released just before Prime Minister’s Questions.

Elphicke’s reasoning was due to “broken promises of Rishi Sunak’s tired and chaotic Government”.

She said: “For me key deciding factors have been housing and the safety and security of our borders.

“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.

“I have carefully considered this decision. The change has been dramatic and cannot be ignored.”

The news comes only 11 days after Tory MP Dan Poulter also defected to the Labour Party.

She will continue to serve Dover and Deal as a Labour MP, but does not plan to stand at the next general election.

The only other Labour MP in Kent, Rosie Duffield, has celebrated on Twitter:

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer condemned Rishi Sunak saying: “The Tory MP for Dover on the front line of small boats crisis says the Prime Minister cannot be trusted with our borders and joins Labour?”

Sir Keir also welcomed Mrs Elphicke to the party during the PMQs:

Left-wing Labour group, Momentum, has voiced their dismay with Sir Keir’s decision in allowing Mrs Elphicke into the party saying:

“Natalie Elphicke has consistently demonised refugees and aid groups.

“Sadly, Keir Starmer is taking Labour away from its core values, aping a failed Tory Party instead of offering a real alternative to it.

“She should have no place in a Labour Party committed to progressive values and working-class people.”

However, changes to the Labour Party is what prompted the Dover MP to change her mind saying:

“The modern Labour Party looks to the future – to building a Britain of hope, optimism, opportunity and fairness. A Britain everyone can be part of.”

Mrs Elphicke was first elected in 2019, serving the area after her husband who stood down after being charged with sexual assault.

A spokesperson for Sir Keir has since defended Mrs Elphicke, stating that they had confidence in her:

“Here is someone who is willing to make the significant step of switching across to Keir Starmer’s changed Labour party, and that’s something we’re very happy to see.”

Conservative MP Stephen Hammond told Sky News that he was suprised that Mrs Elphicke had deflected to Labour.

He shared his condemnation with Sky saying: “If there’s been someone who has done as much as anyone to drag my party away from the centre ground of British politics in the last five years, it’s been Natalie.”

Featured image credit: David Woolfall