Clive Bull 1am - 4am
Boris faces fresh backbench threat as three Tory MPs 'open talks to defect to Labour'
27 June 2022, 21:33
Three Conservative MPs whose seats are part of the "red wall" are in talks to defect to Labour, it has been claimed.
Sources in Sir Keir Starmer's party have briefed that three men who first took their seats as Labour crumbled in the 2019 election have begun discussions to make the switch.
All three have concerns about Boris Johnson's leadership of the Conservative Party and are understood to have tipped towards crossing the floor after the failed confidence vote in him.
A source told The Telegraph that the potential rebel MPs are frustrated at their current party's "ideological direction", and could lose their seats in historical Labour-backing areas.
Another source said one Tory is in active talks with Labour's whips' office but another was only in the early stages of discussions.
Labour's whips' office did not comment on the claims.
Mr Johnson is fighting for his job after by-election defeats in Tiverton and Honiton, which was lost to the Liberal Democrats, and Wakefield, which went back to Labour.
He is reportedly looking to revitalise his premiership by outlining action on the economy and families.
The Prime Minister has cut a jolly figure at the G7 summit this week, where he has been speaking with other leading nations in Germany as they look to tackle issues like sustainability, economic problems and the invasion of Ukraine.
That is despite a bid by some MPs within his party to change the rules of the 1922 committee of backbench politicians so he can face another confidence vote before the usual year-long immunity period expires.
Mr Johnson is also facing threats of a worsening cost of living crisis and a possible summer of strikes in the wake of the rail and barrister industrial action.
Despite this, he raised eyebrows over the weekend when he laid out his ambition for the next election and beyond.
Asked if he will lead the Tories into the next election, he said: "Will I win? Yes.
"I am thinking actively about the third term and what could happen then, but I will review that when I get to it."
He added: "About the third term - you mean this is the mid-2030s."
He told reporters he wanted to drive forward with his "colossal" levelling up policy.