Tory defector Christian Wakeford joins Labour’s shadow education team

Elliot Chappell
©️ Richard Townshend/CC BY 3.0

Former Conservative MP Christian Wakeford, who defected from the Tory Party earlier this year, has joined Labour’s frontbench and taken up a position within the opposition’s education team under Bridget Phillipson.

The ‘Red Wall’ MP, who has represented Bury South since that 2019 general election, crossed the floor in January amidst the ‘partygate’ scandal as he accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues of being “incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves”.

The Bury South MP has now been promoted to parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to the Education Secretary. A PPS is appointed by a shadow minister as their assistant, and traditionally to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the shadow minister in the House of Commons. It is an unpaid position.

Taking to social media this afternoon, Wakeford tweeted: “Delighted to have been offered & accepted the role of PPS to [Phillipson] and the Labour shadow education team. Really looking forward to getting stuck in and helping shape a society fit for young people under a Labour-led government.”

The decision made by the MP to cross the floor and join the Labour Party earlier this year represented the first defection from the Tories to Labour since Quentin Davies did the same in 2007 shortly after Gordon Brown became Prime Minister.

His seat, Bury South, was held by Labour until the sitting MP Ivan Lewis became Independent after the 2017 general election. The constituency was then won by Wakeford under the Conservative banner by a majority of just 402 votes in 2019.

Welcoming the former Conservative MP to the opposition benches earlier this year, Keir Starmer said: “The Labour Party has changed – and so has the Conservative Party. He and anyone else who wants to build a new Britain, built on security, decency, prosperity, respect, is welcome in my Labour Party.”

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