Natalie Elphicke MP

Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke has defected to the Labour Party, saying the Tories “have become a byword for incompetence and division.”

In a statement released just as PMQs was starting today, 8 May 2024, the MP for Dover said the key factors for her decision were housing and border security and reportedly accused Rishi Sunak of ‘broken promises’ and abandoning key pledges.

The Dover Labour Party are expected to retain their existing candidate at the next general election and Ms Elphicke is understood will stand down. Ms Elphicke had a majority of 12,278 at the last election, following boundary changes.

In dramatic scenes, Prime Minister’s Questions began in the Commons with Ms Elphicke crossing the floor to sit behind Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who welcomed her to the party, asking Mr Sunak ‘what is the point of this failed government staggering on’ when ‘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.’

In her statement, Ms Elphicke said Mr Sunak’s government is failing to keep our borders safe and secure, with lives being lost in the Channel and small boat arrivals at record levels. On housing, she said the government was “failing to build the homes we need” and had “betrayed” renters and leaseholders by not delivering on promises to end no fault evictions and abolish ground rents.

“When I was elected in 2019, the Conservative Party occupied the centre ground of British politics,” she said. “Since then, many things have changed. The elected prime minister was ousted in a coup led by the unelected Rishi Sunak.

Labour Party ‘occupies centre ground’

The hard hitting statement went on: “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.” By contrast she said Labour had “changed out of all recognition” since 2019 and now “occupies the centre ground of British politics.”

She added that the party had a “plan to build the homes we need” and its economic and defences policies “are responsible and can be trusted.”

Ms Elphicke was elected in 2019, taking over the Dover seat which had been held by her disgraced then-husband Charlie Elphicke. He was jailed for two years in September 2020 for sexually assaulting two women.

By Ed

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