Boris Johnson apology January 2022 lockdown party
Boris Johnson apologising in the House of Commons on January 12, 2022.Parliament TV
  • Christian Wakeford, who quit the Conservatives, said he was 'threatened' by Boris Johnson's team.
  • Around the same time another MP spoke of attempts to intimidate rebel Tories into line.
  • Sources told Insider Wakeford is not the only MP being threatened.

The MP who shocked Westminster by defecting from the Conservatives to Labour said he was "threatened" by members of Boris Johnson's team. 

Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South, crossed the floor during Wednesday's round of Prime Minister's Questions, citing a series of damning allegations about lockdown-breaking parties being held by Downing Street staff. 

He was one of several backbenchers believed to have submitted a letter of no confidence, sufficient numbers of which would begin a leadership challenge.

In response, Johnson's supporters have been uncompromising in their efforts to put down any rebellion.

Sources told Insider that Wakeford's move was triggered by "bullying", which one MP described as "vicious", including threats of being deselected as an MP, or cutting funding for projects in his constituency. 

William Wragg, a senior Conservative backbencher, accused Johnson's team of "intimidation" and behaviour that would "seem to constitute blackmail".

Asked if he had experienced such behavior, Wakeford told the BBC: "I was threatened that I would not get the school in Radcliffe if I did not vote in one particular way. 

"This is a town that has not had a high school for the best part of 10 years, and how do you feel when holding back regeneration of a town for a vote?"

He added: "It didn't sit comfortably and that is really [what led to me] starting to question my place and where I was, and ultimately where I am."

In a statement in the Commons, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: "While the whipping system is long-established, it is of course a contempt to obstruct members in a discharge of their duty or to attempt a member in their Parliamentary conduct by threats."

Asked about Wragg's claims during a visit, the Prime Minister said he had "seen no evidence, heard no evidence to support any of those allegations".

Speaking to journalists, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said Johnson unequivocally condemned all forms of bullying and harassment. He would be drawn into whether there would be sanctions for individuals found to have intimidated MPs.

Read the original article on Business Insider