Johnny Mercer would have defected to Labour if PM had not offered him a Cabinet job, insiders


Johnny Mercer ‘would have defected to Labour’ if Rishi Sunak had not offered him a top Cabinet job as Veterans minister, Tory insiders claim

  • Johnny Mercer was appointed Veterans Minister by Rishi Sunak in October
  • Tory insiders said Mr Mercer was given the job amid fears that he would defect
  • A Tory source said there was ‘panic’ that Mr Mercer would jump ship to Labour

Outspoken Tory MP Johnny Mercer would have defected to Labour if Rishi Sunak had not given him a plum Government job, it was claimed last night.

Tory insiders said Mr Mercer was made Veterans Minister amid mounting fears that he would otherwise jump ship to Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

The former Army officer was given the Cabinet-level post – which he held before under Boris Johnson – on the day Mr Sunak took over as PM.

A Tory source said: ‘There was a real panic that if Johnny didn’t get his old job back, he would walk. That was the real concern.’

Johnny Mercer would have defected to Labour if Rishi Sunak had not given him a plum Government job, it was claimed last night. Mr Mercer is pictured entering 10 Downing Street on November 1

Johnny Mercer would have defected to Labour if Rishi Sunak had not given him a plum Government job, it was claimed last night. Mr Mercer is pictured entering 10 Downing Street on November 1

Last night, Mr Mercer declined to comment.

But close friends dismissed the defection rumour as ‘complete b******s’.

However, a former Cabinet Minister told The Mail on Sunday last night that rumours of Mr Mercer’s possible defection were so rife in the final days of Liz Truss’s Premiership that No 10 aide David Canzini was despatched to challenge the MP.

Ms Truss had angered the Plymouth MP by scrapping the Veterans Minister post when she entered Downing Street in September.

In an interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, Mr Mercer said Ms Truss had laughed at him when she told him.

The same interview, in Men’s Health magazine, also fuelled the defection suspicion when he was challenged to say how he would respond if local voters asked him whether they would be better off under Sir Keir’s Labour or Ms Truss’s Tories.

Mr Mercer paused, before saying: ‘I don’t know what to say. I’m not a libertarian.

‘The Tories can go in that direction, but I don’t have to.’

Pictured: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds his first Cabinet Meeting on October 26, with Johnny Mercer pictured left

Pictured: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds his first Cabinet Meeting on October 26, with Johnny Mercer pictured left

Conservative Party managers have already suffered one defection this year after Bury South MP Christian Wakeford crossed the floor to sit on the Labour benches in January.

But with Sir Keir’s party riding so high in the polls that one survey predicted only three Tory MPs would survive in a general election, the Conservatives have feared more of their MPs could jump ship.

However, Labour sources poured cold water on any idea of wooing Mr Mercer.

One MP said Mr Mercer was ‘vicious towards the Labour Party locally’, adding: ‘We would not want him.’



Read More: Johnny Mercer would have defected to Labour if PM had not offered him a Cabinet job, insiders

2022-11-13 00:31:43

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More