"I was threatened that I would not get a school for Radcliffe if I did not vote in one particular way," he said.

It comes after MP William Wragg accused the government of trying to "blackmail" its own MPs to stop them plotting against the prime minister.

But Boris Johnson said he had not seen any evidence to support the claim.

Mr Wakeford, who had been a Conservative Party member for nearly 20 years, announced his decision to switch sides moments before Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

"This is a town that's not had a high school for the best part of 10 years.

"how would you feel when holding back regeneration of a town for a vote, it didn't sit comfortably.

"that was really starting to question my place, where i was and ultimately to where i am now."

"Reading his comments, it would be very surprising if there was.

I'm taking it that this is quite historical."

Wakeford, introducing a speech by Rachel Reeves in Bury the day after his defection, said it was "a great honour, if not a surprise, to be here today".

he said labour was "ready to provide an alternative government that this country can be proud of" and had become "the party of economic competence".

"pressures and intimidation" he said.

The former Conservative MP Christian Wakeford has alleged that party whips told him he would lose funding for a new high school in his constituency if he did not vote with the government.

Another MP opposing Johnson denied that letters of no confidence had been withdrawn after Wakeford defected to Labour.

“ Wakeford may have stayed some people's hands yesterday but this isn ’ t going into reverse. ” Speaking at a Labour event on Thursday, Wakeford backed up the claims by Wragg that threats involving public money were made by the whips.

"It is, of course, the duty of the government whips' office to secure the government ’ s business in the House of Commons.

However, it is not their function to breach the ministerial code in threatening to withdraw investment from members of parliaments ’ constituencies which are funded from the public purse.

Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader, said the alleged threats to withdraw investment to force support for Johnson were "disgusting".

He's acting more like a mafia boss than a prime minister. ” Wragg was one of the first Conservative MPs to call publicly for Johnson to go because of allegations about lockdown-breaching Downing Street parties, saying the prime minister's position had become untenable.

Now the tide is flowing from the Conservatives to Labour again, although Christian Wakeford's defection is more to do with repulsion from Boris Johnson than attraction to Keir Starmer.

Those less than enamoured include party members in Bury South, according to Newsnight's Lewis Goodall.

It remains to be seen whether Wakeford will be imposed as a candidate for the next election or subject to open selection within the local party.

Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless in 2014 were the vanguard of the Leave vote in the referendum.

Alan Howarth in 1995 was the harbinger of the Labour landslide.

The eight Labour and three Conservatives who set up Change UK in 2019 ( and who mostly ended up in the Liberal Democrats ) advertised the realignment of politics in the Brexit election at the end of that year.

It is a huge coup for Starmer, and it seemed to make sense that it should be announced just before Prime Minister's Questions, in an attempt to destabilise Johnson further.

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