‘Operation Domino!’ Rigby warns further Tory defections on the cards following Labour tip
Beth Rigby says Labour have hinted at more defections
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Labour sources have dubbed Christian Wakeford’s defection as “Operation Domino” and have implied further Tory defection may happen in the wake of the events at PMQs. Boris Johnson suffered a series of blows in the House of Commons as his own Tories turned against him amid the Partygate scandal with fears he could face further setbacks as the days go on. Beth Rigby remarked the “Operation Domino” may simply be “spin” from Labour but noted several reports say Labour are happy with the defection and that the list of Tories putting forward no-confidence votes is growing.
Ahead of PMQs, Ms Rigby tweeted out that a senior Labour source had told her “Operation Domino underway” following the defection of Mr Wakeford.
The Political Editor analysed PMQs and the impact of the defection to Boris Johnson’s leadership.
She said: “I have to say he came into that Prime Minister’s Questions today, it began with a defection from a conservative MP.
“And Christian Wakeford is now being no doubt criticised heavily by colleagues who will be shocked and incensed by this defection but he has been a Tory Councillor since 2013 and was made became an MP in 2019.
“He crossed the floor to the Labour benches, which is extremely difficult for any prime minister.
“The Labour Party sources are telling me that this is Operation Domino implying that there’s more to come now, that might not be true that might just be spin.
“But let’s see, the whips can’t be sure.”
Ms Rigby also remarked how former cabinet minister David Davis unleashed at Boris Johnson by telling him he needed to go.
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He told the House: “I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take. Yesterday he did the opposite of that. So, I will remind him of a quotation that may be familiar to his ear…
“‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go.'”
Sky News reports Mr Wakeford was in talks with Labour about the defection since October with it branded “Operation Domino”.
It is currently unclear whether additional defection talks with other MPs have been had.
Mr Wakeford said he was “genuinely disillusioned” with the Conservatives and reportedly was “sent over the edge” after whips threatened his seat with boundary changes.
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He is “genuinely disillusioned”, “does not want to be associated” with Mr Johnson and is impressed by “Keir’s agenda”, the source said.
The Bury South MP had submitted a no-confidence letter in the Prime Minister but it no longer counts due to his defection.
Several Tory MPs have gone on record to say they have submitted letters of no-confidence to the 1922 committee and the 54 vote threshold has reportedly almost been reached.
However, only the chair of the committee, Sir Graham Brady, knows the true figure.
Sir Roger Gale, Andrew Bridgen, and several Tory MPs from the 2019 intake have reportedly filed their letters.
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