SWITCHING SIDES Tory MP Natalie Elphicke defects to Labour blaming ‘broken promises’ – despite slamming Keir Starmer over migrant crisis

MP Natalie Elphicke has ditched the Tories to join the Labour Party, blasting Rishi Sunak's "broken promises" and "chaotic Government".

The Dover MP dramatically crossed the floor of the House of Commons just moments before Prime Minister's Questions.

Natalie Elphicke crossed the floor and sat on the Labour benches behind Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs
Natalie Elphicke crossed the floor and sat on the Labour benches behind Sir Keir Starmer at PMQsCredit: BBC/UNPIXS
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with former Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke after her defection
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with former Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke after her defectionCredit: PA
Sir Keir Starmer kicked off PMQs by heralding Natalie Elphicke's defection
Sir Keir Starmer kicked off PMQs by heralding Natalie Elphicke's defectionCredit: BBC/UNPIXS

In a bombshell statement, she said: “I have carefully considered this decision. The change has been dramatic and cannot be ignored.

“For me key deciding factors have been housing and the safety and security of our borders."

It was as recently as last year that she had slammed Labour for secretly wanting "open borders".

Ms Elphicke also insisted that under the PM's leadership, the Tories have now become a "byword for incompetence and division", adding: "The centre ground has been abandoned and key pledges of the 2019 manifesto have been ditched."

She praised Labour for changing "out of all recognition" under Sir Keir Starmer, who she thinks now "occupies the centre ground of British politics".

The defection comes only a week after Dr Dan Poulter also quit the Tories in anger over the NHS crisis to join Labour.

It's understood the defection had been under consideration for some time and Sir Keir Starmer had met her once before the switch today.

After the weekly Prime Minister's Questions showdown in the Commons, the pair were due to meet.

It also comes after last week's disastrous set of local elections for the PM.

The Tory benches looked genuinely baffled as the Labour boss kicked off PMQs by heralding Ms Elphicke's mutiny.

Sir Keir then asked the PM: “If one week a Tory MP who is also a doctor says the Prime Minister can’t be trusted with the NHS and joins Labour, and the next week the Tory MP for Dover on the front line of the small boats crisis says the Prime Minister cannot be trusted with our borders, and joins Labour. What is the point of this failed Government staggering on?”

Ms Elphicke was elected as Dover’s Conservative MP in 2019, taking over the seat which had been held by her disgraced then-husband Charlie, who was jailed for two years after being found guilty in 2020 of sexually assaulting two women.

Her newfound love for Labour comes after often slamming Sir Keir on social media on key issues that resonated with her constituency.

She wrote a column for the Daily Express in 2023, in which she urged voters not to trust the Labour leader on immigration.

In a another resurfaced social media post, she said: "The facts are clear, Labour do not want to stop the boats."

A Tory Party spokesperson said: "The people of Dover and Deal will be disappointed having felt the impact of illegal immigration. They did have an MP who sat with the Party fighting to tackle this issue head on, now they have an MP in a Party that has worked to block our plans to tackle illegal immigration 139 times.

"We wish Natalie well as she now has to support Labour's amnesty for illegal immigrants and one that directly opposes her own views – it was only last year that she penned an article titled ‘Don’t trust Labour on immigration they really want open borders.’”

Several Tories also quickly took to social media to condemn Ms Elphicke's defection, with Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer ironically saying: "I have literally no idea why the public think most politicians are so inauthentic and believe in absolutely nothing at all."

Ms Elphicke, who is standing down at the general election, denied that she has been offered a peerage by Labour.

She said: “What I’ve said that I will do and what I’ve been asked to do is to contribute in the area of housing, which has been a longstanding area of experience for me."

Tory MPs did not look gutted, they just shook their heads in disappointment...

By JACK ELSOM, Chief Political Correspondent

IT couldn't be her - could it?

That was the collective reaction when a woman looking suspiciously like the Tory MP Natalie Elphicke was spotted sat behind Sir Keir Starmer on the Labour side of the House of Commons chamber.

The time was just before noon and Rishi Sunak was moments away from his weekly bout with his Opposition rival.

Following a bruising set of local elections, the PM was keen to get back on the front foot by rallying his Tory troops.

But it soon became clear that he had walked into an ambush.

It WAS Natalie Elphicke, Labour spinners confirmed as political journalists hurried to break the news.

A statement from their new recruit blasting her old party was promptly released to cause maximum damage.

But for all the brief excitement, it proved a bit of a damp squib.

Far from detonating a political bomb under PMQs, it was barely referenced beside a quick gloat from Starmer at the top.

Tory MPs did not look gutted - they just shook their heads in disappointment.

In fact her defection only served to stir the Conservative benches into full voice cheering their leader.

Especially when within moments of her crossing the floor, Elphicke’s past disparaging comments about Labour emerged.

A neat coup for Starmer, but not a body blow by any means.

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