Rishi Sunak fears new defection to Labour in just HOURS after being caught off-guard last week

Rishi Sunak fears new defection to Labour in just HOURS after being caught off-guard last week

WATCH: Jonathan Gullis opens up on Elphicke defection

GB News
Christopher Hope

By Christopher Hope

Published: 14/05/2024

- 20:00

Updated: 15/05/2024

- 09:12

Dan Poulter and Natalie Elphicke both defected to Labour

Rishi Sunak could be facing a possible third defection of a Conservative MP to Labour, senior figures have warned.

Allies of the Prime Minister said they were preparing for another defection to Labour, following the decision by former Conservative MPs Natalie Elphicke and Dan Poulter to cross the floor in the House of Commons.

One senior MP told GB News that the team around the PM were braced for a defection, although this may be an attempt to raise expectations to damage Labour if a Tory MP does not cross the floor.

Government whips have been told to be on “defection watch” overnight for any suggestion that Tory MPs might try to jump ship to Labour.

Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, Natalie Elphicke and Dan PoulterRishi Sunak fears new defection to Labour in just hoursPA

Labour will be keen to keep any plans under wraps. Elphicke's defection last Wednesday was a cloak-and-dagger operation with only a handful of advisers and MPs around leader Sir Keir Starmer briefed on the plans.

Elphicke, MP for Dover, immediately said that Labour had the better policies to tackle the small boats crisis in the English Channel.

Poulter, a doctor, said when he announced his defection in a Sunday newspaper on April 27 that only Labour could tackle the problems facing the National Health Service.

In a damage limitation exercise, the sources close to Sunak have been downplaying the impact of the defections of both Elphicke and Poulter, by painting them as loners within the Conservative party.

Starmer/ElphickeNatalie Elphicke's defection may have caused a stir, but in the longer term it might just be a masterstrokePA

Allies of Sunak are painting the Prime Minister's wide-ranging speech yesterday as a signal to his party and his MPs that he will now lead the party into the general election after the danger point to his leadership passed after the difficult local election results.

They are hoping that, with stronger-than-expected growth in the economy, a forecast fall in net migration and the possibility of migrant flights taking off to Rwanda, the party's fortunes might start to improve.

A source close to Starmer declined to comment on speculation about another defection when approached by GB News.

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