Former Tory MP Mark Logan quits party to back Labour at election

A former Tory MP has said he is quitting the Conservatives to back Labour at the General Election, in a blow to Rishi Sunak as he battles to stay in No 10.

Mark Logan, who represented Bolton North East for the Conservatives until Parliament was dissolved on Thursday, has said a government led by Sir Keir Starmer was “going to be better for the UK”.

He told the BBC his application to join Labour was “going in today”.

“I believe, as a politician, it’s incumbent upon me to be able to say, to look people in the eyes in Bolton and say that I believe that a Labour government is going to serve you better, your interests better, it’s going to be better for your pockets, it’s better for the economy, it’s going to be better for the UK.

“For my constituents and for the country, it’s right that we get some stability back into the UK, we get optimism, we get new and fresh ideas.”

Mr Sunak’s party was “unrecognisable” from the party he joined a decade ago, Mr Logan told the broadcaster, although he did not criticise the Prime Minister personally.

Mr Sunak has already suffered two recent defections to Labour, with Dan Poulter and Natalie Elphicke crossing the floor in recent weeks.

General Election campaign 2024
Mark Logan quitting the Tory Party will come as a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he campaigns ahead of the election (Aaron Chown/PA)

In a “personal statement” dated Wednesday but posted on X on Thursday, Mr Logan said New Labour anthem Things Can Only Get Better “represented the optimism of the incoming Labour government of 1997”.

“Labour is back, and given how things have been, I believe things can only get better.

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“After much soul-searching throughout my first term in parliament, brought to a head with the calling of a snap election last week, I have concluded that we need a new government and I believe the UK will be best served with that government being a Labour government.

“We need renewed enthusiasm and optimism in both tone and in policy, and I believe that we are already seeing this through Keir Starmer and the team.

“I am resigning from the Conservative Party with immediate effect. Regrettably, I will therefore not contest our constituency at the upcoming General Election.”

He concluded: “The first time I voted, I voted for Labour. The next time I vote it will be a vote for Labour.”

Labour has reportedly already chosen Kirith Entwistle as candidate for Bolton North East.

Mr Logan won his seat from Labour in the 2019 general election with a narrow majority of just 378, making it one of the most marginal in the country.

He was a junior member of the Government, a parliamentary private secretary to ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions.

In recent months, his focus has been raising concerns from constituents over Gaza.

Mr Logan told Sky News that he still believed Mr Sunak to be a “person of integrity”. Asked if he thought Labour must be moving to the right to attract people like him, he said he saw Labour as a “broad church”.

“I think the great thing with the Labour Party today is that it’s a broad church incorporating people from the right of politics and also from the left of politics,” he said.

Mr Logan’s decision comes as the Labour Party faces accusations of culling its left wing, sparked by uncertainty over whether Diane Abbott will be allowed to defend her seat, the suspension of Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who was MP for Brighton Kemptown, and the decision not to endorse candidate Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and Woodford Green.

Sir Keir welcomed Mr Logan’s switch to Labour, saying: “Voters across the country are looking to Labour for change. I am pleased Mark Logan has taken the decision to vote for Labour at this upcoming General Election.

“After 14 years of Tory failure, voters are returning to Labour because they can see that we are a changed party and back in service of working people. It’s time to stop the chaos, turn the page and rebuild Britain.”

The Conservative Party hit back, with a spokesperson saying: “It’s notable that Mark Logan has defected to a party he can’t even name a single policy of.

“We wish Mark Logan well with the Labour Party – a party that has no plan for the country and would take us back to square one.

“We will select a new candidate in due course.

“The people of Bolton North East now have the choice to vote to stick with the plan by choosing bold action for a safer, more prosperous future with the Conservatives, or go back to square one with Keir Starmer and the same old Labour.”