Christian's Defection

Christian Wakeford, one of the Members of Parliament for the town of Bury, has defected from the Conservatives to Labour. He is an MP I know better than most, for he was formerly a Pendle Councillor, which is the district in which I live. Although this is a wonderful PR opportunity and coup for Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, it is of course a blow to Boris Johnson and Bury's local Conservative Association, the website of which icily ignores their MP’s crossing of the floor.

Where am I going with this? If I were a Conservative, I would see it as an apt picture of backsliding. If I supported Labour, it is a great image of evangelism. A Labour whip had been assigned to him, appealing Labour policies had been sent to him on WhatsApp, furtive conversations behind closed doors had probably been taking place for weeks, if not months. Rather, it is his sincerity I wish to ponder.

The Young Labour group and Momentum, both factions within the Labour Party, have objected to the official party newsfeed celebrating the defection. They point out his voting record, which supported the Conservative government and its polices, which he now complains about. Indeed, he once sponsored a Bill demanding defecting MPs call by-elections in their constituencies, something about which he is now rather quiet. Ironically, though, if he were to stand in his own constituency as the Labour candidate, he would likely win.

Ah, yes, his constituency. His majority at Bury South is a little shy of 400, which must rank it one of more marginal in the country. I suspect that Mr Wakeford, seeing the polls, jumped ship while he still could in order to hang on to his parliamentary seat. Better to be an Opposition MP with the prospect of re-election, than a government MP asked to pay for the PM’s unpopularity with his job. So I doubt that the one who was filmed in the Commons repeatedly lambasting Labour for its policies and record in government is a true socialist and supporter of redistributive policies. Yet his decision has proved to be a wonderful opportunity to give the Prime Minister a bloody nose and a boost to Labour’s prospects of entering government in 2024.

So to what extent should we question a new convert’s sincerity, having professed faith in Jesus Christ? We know that some who say “Lord, Lord” will not enter the kingdom of heaven and even those who perform miracles in His name may remain unknown to Him. The enemy sows tares among the wheat, and the shadows of Judas and Demas still loom large. Mr Wakeford’s remarkable conversion to left-of-centre politics is unlikely to be authentic, but many politicians are deemed to be liars at the best of times. I suspect that we should take sincerity levels at face value. If someone 'talks the talk and walks the walk', only the Lord Himself know the state of their heart. Only He can truly discern the thoughts of men; we merely have their actions and words to consider. 

Image by foglbalazs from Pixabay