Following Christian Wakeford’s stunning act of tergiversation Smarkets have a market up on whether we’ll see more Tory defections by the end of the next month, based on the story below you can understand why.
My normal instinct in theis type of market is to back No. A little over three months ago it was said that three Labour MPs were ready to defect to the Tory Party, I wrote at the time ‘Defections usually aren’t normally leaked until the defection happens….[they] happen in the background, not leaked and trailed beforehand.’ Just remember how much of a surprise Christian Wakeford’s defection was.
However something feels different this time to me, today’s Sunday Times report that ‘Wakeford had been in talks with Labour for months but only agreed to jump in a meeting with Sir Keir Starmer on Monday. Labour officials dubbed it Operation Domino, and suggested other red wallers could cross the floor.’
Elsewhere the Sunday Times have this observation which seems apt for this discussion,
‘In 2019, 109 Conservative MPs were elected to parliament for the first time. Many of them were neophytes who barely knew nor cared about the rules and conventions of politics. A significant number of red wall MPs also felt a greater loyalty to their constituents than to the Conservative Party itself.
In a normal parliament, whips might have developed close personal relationships with members of their flock and inspired the loyalty, or fear, on which a successful whipping operation is based. Covid, however, undermined that. MPs have instead spent much of the past two years in their constituencies and often felt greater pressure from local residents in person or on social media than from members of the whip’s office communicating over WhatsApp.’
There’s also a few of pivotal moments coming up that may trigger defections, there’s the ongoing police investigation into the allegations of blackmail by government whips, the publication of the report by Sue Gray (and Boris Johnson’s reaction to it.)
The other wildcard is Boris Johnson hasn’t been able to assure Tory MPs that further allegations will not come out. If there’s video evidence of Boris Johnson attending the (and admitting at the time they were) parties then it would be a case of video killed the HIGNFY star.
So I think backing the 6.4 on Yes represents some value, but I wouldn’t put too much money on it.