IS anyone surprised that the line between Labour and the Tories is now so blurred that a Conservative MP can resign from the Tories and, wearing his Union flag face mask, cross the floor to sit on the Labour benches as a Labour MP?

Due to the widespread public anger about the entitled behaviour of Boris Johnson, Conservative MP for Bury South Christian Wakeford has left the Conservatives and has announced that he has joined the Labour Party. Wakeford received a warm welcome on the Labour benches from Keir Starmer and other members of the Parliamentary Labour Party. 

Wakeford was elected for the Conservatives in 2019 as one of those Tories who took formerly Labour seats in the so-called red wall in the landslide which returned Johnson to power with a majority of 80. 

He was happy to support the right-wing populist Brextremist agenda of the Conservatives, even though Johnson's character flaws were abundantly clear – at least he was happy to support it right up until it became evident that the public fury at the wanton breaking of Covid regulations by Johnson, who partied as thousands of families grieved alone, was likely to cost him his Bury South seat.  

Wakeford voted to reduce Universal Credit for the poorest families and he voted in favour of restrictions on the right to asylum. According to the website TheyWorkForYou, on three separate occasions, during the relatively short time that he has been an MP, he has voted against measures to combat climate change and has consistently voted against measures aiming to reduce tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and big businesses. He has also consistently voted against any additional powers for the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Senedd.

However, in a statement explaining his reasons for leaving the Conservatives and joining Labour, Wakeford said: "I have concluded that the policies of the Conservative government that you [Johnson] lead are doing nothing to help the people of my constituency and indeed are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse."   

He said this as though he's only just worked it out. This comes from a man who has been a Conservative MP since 2019, and who prior to that was the leader of the Conservative group on Pendle Borough Council and had been a Lancashire county councillor for the Conservatives since May 2013.

We can only conclude from this that either Wakeford is primarily motivated by a desire to save his own career, or that he is remarkably slow on the uptake. Although admittedly, those are not mutually exclusive categories.

Wakeford was received on the Labour benches to applause and cheers from Keir Starmer and the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party. However, many on the left of the party are deeply unhappy that a man with Wakeford's voting record should feel that Starmer's Labour party is a better fit for him than the Conservatives. Others counter that Labour needs to win the support of people like Wakeford and the voters of Bury South – who returned him to Westminster – if Starmer is ever to have any chance of entering Downing Street and seeing for himself the results of Johnson's dubiously funded refurbishments.

However, that is precisely the problem with the Westminster system. Scotland can never look to the Labour party to protect it from the Tories, because the only way that Labour can ever hope to achieve power is by aping and emulating the Conservatives. Whether it's the actual Conservatives or the Tory-Lite policies of a right-wing Brexit-backing Labour party, one way or another all that Westminster offers Scotland is Conservative rule in perpetuity.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

To receive our full newsletter including this analysis straight to your email inbox, click here and tick the box for the REAL Scottish Politics