Blair urges Labour to capitalise on defection of Conservative MP

Former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair has told The Independent that Labour must capitalise on the defection of Christian Wakeford, once a red wall Conservative MP, by laying claim to the centre ground.

Mr Wakeford, the MP for Bury South, crossed the floor this week amid the ongoing “partygate” scandal. 

Sir Tony Blair said the moment had a “bigger significance” than the row over Downing Street parties, and signalled that Sir Keir Starmer should use the moment to win over those who voted Conservative in 2019. He said: “It does show that there’s a group of people who maybe backed the Tories for the first time who are having second thoughts”.

Sir Tony added that Labour was now a “much more acceptable proposition” since Jeremy Corbyn’s departure as leader, adding that the party had “turned a corner” at September’s party conference in moving to the centre-ground. “I think the far left suffered a major defeat, really,” he said.