Cabinet minister urges Christian Wakeford to stand in by-election after defection to Labour

Grant Shapps (right) believes that Christian Wakeford (left) should put himself up in front of his constituents again. Credit: PA

The MP who defected to Labour from the Conservatives over Boris Johnson's "incapable" leadership should put himself up for a by-election, a cabinet minister has said.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told ITV's Peston that the MP for Bury South Christian Wakeford should submit himself to his constituents, as they voted for a Tory MP in 2019.

He argued that Bury South, which had elected a Labour MP at every election since 1997, has benefited from the current government's levelling-up agenda, having received significant funding.

"Of course he should submit himself to the people of his constituency," Mr Shapps said.

"They've had more from this government in terms of transformation and levelling up and funding and plans for more of it in two years than happened in the two decades before under Labour.

"So yeah I think he should front up to his constituents, for sure."

Following the 'partygate' scandal engulfing 10 Downing Street, Mr Wakeford, who won his seat with a majority of 402, submitted a letter of no confidence in the prime minister to the 1922 committee and became the seventh MP to publicly call for the PM to resign.

In a statement he said, "You [Boris Johnson] and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves".

Growing numbers of Tory MP's are calling on the prime minister to resign. Credit: PA

The defection adds to the growing pressure on Boris Johnson, who was laughed at during PMQs as he repeatedly urged MPs to wait for Sue Gray's inquiry into the Downing Street parties which threaten to derail his premiership.

In a dramatic turn, Conservative former Cabinet minister David Davis urged Mr Johnson to resign over the partygate scandal - the most senior Tory MP to do so.