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Is there anyone a ‘changed Labour’ wouldn’t accept?

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Friday 10 May 2024 10:08 BST
Surely, new MPs must have some loose, tenuous, hint of a link to whatever values and principles you hold as a political party?
Surely, new MPs must have some loose, tenuous, hint of a link to whatever values and principles you hold as a political party? (PA)

Reading John Rentoul today I can totally understand why, for short-term tactical gain, Labour would accept Natalie Elphicke and welcome her defection. But it obviously raises the question of whether there is anyone who a “changed Labour Party” wouldn’t accept? Would Nigel Farage, 30p Lee, Jacob Rees-Mogg or a coach tour from the European Research Group now fit the bill?

Because the point, surely, should be that new MPs must have some loose, tenuous, hint of a link to whatever values and principles you hold as a political party... unless you don’t have any in the first place, in which case come one, come all.

Hopefully, Donald Trump may be free come December to do a photo-op in Florida with a smiling Kier Starmer welcoming him as the new foreign secretary.

John Murray


Out of time and out of favour

Starmer blindsided the government with the very unexpected defection of Elphicke to the Labour ranks. I must admit I had my jaw dropped for a good few seconds taking in the news. Elphicke is known for her ultra-right-wing views, so it is rather surprising that she has crossed the floor into such an unnatural political habitat for her values.

But there you go, she is seemingly fed up with her own party – and who can blame her? The Tories are becoming more dysfunctional day by day. It seems nothing can save them from being a government out of time and out of favour.

Judith A Daniels


A more appropriate home

The famous quote “you’re judged by the company you keep” came to mind when noting the defection of former Tory MP, Elphicke, to Labour.

The colourful Dover MP, famed for her rather right-wing views, has unexpectedly crossed the floor to join the ranks of the Labour Party, where she clearly feels more at home.

Initially highly critical of Labour’s plans to tackle immigration, Elphicke was also forced to say sorry to footballer Marcus Rashford for claiming that he should spend more time in his day job, rather than campaigning against child poverty.

Even in comparison with other Tories, her views are starkly on the right. She has consistently voted to make it easier to remove someone’s citizenship and has almost always voted for stronger laws and enforcement of immigration rules.

It is indicative of how far to the right Labour has veered, that Elphicke should find this a more appropriate home than the current Conservative benches.

Alex Orr


Money for nothing

The unsettling hacking of the personal data of military personnel at a “third-party contractor” really ought to call into question the government’s obsession with privatising and outsourcing so much of the running of our country.

The personal details of members of our security services ought to be utterly confidential, and yet processing of payroll gets inexplicably farmed out to the private sector, which will always primarily seek to keep costs to the absolute minimum, meaning that corners are cut wherever possible.

We’ve seen this with our public transport networks, our water system, our sewage companies, our power companies, rubbish collection, the (now thankfully renationalised) probation service – everywhere you look, the same handful of companies are being handsomely rewarded for overseeing sub-standard jobs that have been cut to the bone.

Surely, the time has come to bring all of our nation’s services back in-house where they will be treated with the seriousness and respect that they merit. The only thing that the private sector seems to excel at is paying bonuses and dividends.

Julian Self

Milton Keynes

Tunnel vision

The issue with the Channel Tunnel is not just about charges but also about connections. The decision in the 1980s to scrap services beyond London, once parliamentary approval had been obtained to build the tunnel, has meant that markets have been closed off. And with HS2 not even linking with HS1 when it is finally open, a flight from Birmingham (or Manchester or Leeds or anywhere else) to Frankfurt will always be more attractive from the point of view of time.

It is little wonder therefore that there are few providers looking to offer services. And of course, Brexit border controls now make the prospect even harder to justify when set against an unlimited and unimpeded network just on the other side of the Channel.

Charles Wood


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