Labour Faces Backlash Over Decision to Admit Former Tory MP

Labour is facing internal strife and external scrutiny after admitting Natalie Elphicke, a former Conservative MP with a controversial past, prompting questions about the party’s values and leadership decisions. Here’s the full story.

All the Same

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One common refrain amongst the long-suffering citizens of the United Kingdom is that politicians are all the same and that, despite the colour of their rosettes, nothing much changes as the status quo is maintained. 

Not Too Far Off

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Though many would characterise this as an extreme clumping together of all politicians, many of whom have profoundly different beliefs from one another, occasionally, events occur which might show that that characterisation is not too far off. 

What Does Labour Stand For?

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In a move that has stirred deep-seated anger and not a little controversy within the Labour Party, Labour leader Keir Starmer has decided to accept the defection of Natalie Elphicke, a staunchly far-right former Conservative MP, into the Labour Party, which has led to serious questions being asked about what, exactly, the Labour party stands for. 

Forced Into Defensive Action

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So severe was the backlash against Elphicke’s acceptance into Labour, with even some shadow cabinet ministers speaking out publicly against it, that Labour Chair Anneliese Dodds has been forced to defend the decision. 

Same Concerns

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Dodds told Sky News, “I think in what Natalie Elphicke has set out today she’s very clearly shown she is very concerned about the issues that both Labour MPs are concerned about and Labour members, and indeed many Labour voters.”

“Absolutely Fundamental”

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Dodds also hailed Elphicke’s move to the Labour Party as a critical strike against the Conservatives, with her views on border security and housing being “absolutely fundamental to the Labour Party.”

Defending the Indefensible

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Elphicke’s admission into the Labour Party has caused profound anger amongst many female Labour MPs due to her controversial decision to defend her husband, Charlie Elphicke, who was convicted of sexual assault.

“Easy Target”

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In a move widely condemned by many in her new party at the time as one of victim blaming, Natalie Elphicke said of her husband when he was on trial, “Charlie is charming, wealthy, charismatic and successful – attractive, and attracted to women. All things that in today’s climate made him an easy target for dirty politics and false allegations.”


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Jess Philips, the former shadow minister for domestic violence, said of Elphicke’s move to Labour, “I didn’t believe it at first. It was a bit discombobulating.”

“There Is Some Apologising to Be Done”

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When asked about Elphicke’s victim blaming for her husband’s crimes, Phillips said on ITV’s Peston show, “I think she needs to explain it and I think that there is some apologising to be done to victims of those crimes … I’m all for forgiveness but not without contrition.”

Deep Divide

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Labour MPs were also lining up to condemn Starmer’s decision to admit Elphicke for several other reasons, particularly the deep divide between her political views and most of the Labour Party’s voters. 

“Powers of Conversion”

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Former shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told LBC, “I’m a great believer in the powers of conversion, but I think even this one would have strained the generosity of spirit of John the Baptist.”

No Association

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McDonnell then explicitly stated that Elphicke had views he didn’t “think the party should be associated with.”

“Churches Have Walls”

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Speaking to BBC Radio 4, former Labour leader Neil Kinnock said of the Labour Party, “It’s a very broad church, but churches have walls and there are limits.”

“Not a Debating Club”

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He added, “We are a political party and not a debating club.”

Unhelpful Comparison

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Many on the left of the party have compared Elphicke’s acceptance into Labour with the treatment of suspended Labour MP Diane Abbott. 

Still Suspended

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Despite being a long-standing Labour MP who is beloved in her constituency and a regular thorn in the side of the government, Abbott remains suspended from the Labour Party pending a year-long investigation into her remarks about racism. 

“Absolute Trailblazer”

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Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dodd said of Abbott’s case, “I have enormous respect for Diane Abbott; she was an absolute trailblazer, and of course, we set out those proposals for a new race equality act some weeks ago when I was really privileged to have been able to discuss those with her.” 

“We Have Got a Process”

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She continued, “But, as I have said before, we have got a process, there is an independent one that does operate without fear or favour, and that is quite right. It is not one that is subject to political influence, nor indeed should it be.”

“The Tories Have Failed”

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Such was the outcry at the move that Starmer himself was forced to defend it, with his spokesperson stating, “It’s a sign of the progress that we’ve made that people recognise that on some of the key challenges facing the country, the Tories have failed.”

“Changed Labour Party”

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They continued, “Here is someone who is willing to make the significant step of switching across to Keir Starmer’s changed Labour party and that’s something we’re very happy to see.”

Maintaining Unity

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As Labour grapples with the ongoing fallout over the admission of far-right Conservative Natalie Elphicke, the challenges of maintaining unity and coherence as a party will undoubtedly weigh heavily on Keir Starmer. 

All Welcome!

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However, it remains to be seen whether he is up to the challenge of holding together a broad church that has just been made considerably wider.

The post Labour Faces Backlash Over Decision to Admit Former Tory MP first appeared on 365 News.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rupert Rivett.

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