If there was a betting market on the first Tory MP defecting to the Brexit Party my money would be on Steve Baker
Hey @LadPolitics can you put up a market on who will be the 1st Tory MP to defect to the Brexit Party? Want to back Steve Baker, story 2day
'Nigel is very smug at the moment & is 100% sure that there is at least 1 high-profile defection in the pipeline'https://t.co/5QD2GS4hMX
— TSE (@TSEofPB) April 28, 2019
In today’s Sun on Sunday reports
Tory MPs such as Lucy Allan, the MP for Telford, have openly tweeted encouragement for the Brexit Party, and dozens of others say privately they will vote for Farage.
Some have discussed defecting.
One prominent Brexiteer said: “Maybe we should all just defect to the Brexit Party. Can you imagine the chaos.”
It was sent to members of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group. A source close to Farage confirmed: “Nigel is very smug at the moment and is 100 per cent sure that there is at least one high-profile defection in the pipeline with others likely to follow.”
Farage is also promising the 28 Tory MPs who remain opposed to May’s Brexit deal — a group known as the “Spartans” — that the Brexit Party will not contest their seats at the next election.
In 2014, Farage successfully persuaded two Conservative MPs, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, to defect to Ukip.
If Shadsy does put a market on the first Tory MP defecting to the Brexit party I’d be looking to back Steve Baker.
At the start of the month Steve Baker publicly spoke about voting against the government in a vote of no confidence.
As the Spectator noted
In response, [Baker] stressed that ‘At this point I can foresee no circumstances, while as a Conservative MP, I vote against the government in a confidence motion.’
But then went on to add:
‘But we are approaching the point where the stakes are now so very high and so transcend party politics and what this country is about, and the fundamental British value that political power rests on consent, that I think these things are coming on to the table.’
To me if you’re willing to say that publicly then you’ve contemplated leaving the Tory party and for the Spartan wing of the ERG there’s only one party to defect to, that’s Farage’s new party. Gerard Batten’s turning UKIP into the political wing of the EDL has ensured there shouldn’t be any Tory MPs defecting to UKIP.
Now there’s the Carswell/Reckless precedent that when you betray the Tory party you trigger a by election but there is an easy get out for any future defectors. Given the the Parliamentary arithmetic and Mrs May’s attempts to pass her deal every vote is crucial it would be reckless for the Spartans to be out of Parliament for around two months fighting by elections.
There’s quite a few Leavers who would be delighted to see the Spartans leave the Tory party, the defections to the Brexit party would increase the average IQ of both parties.