Defecting Tory may be at odds with the government – but he isn’t quite Labour either | Politics News

In a Sky News interview after then Tory MP Christian Wakeford defected to Labour in 2022, Mark Logan was asked if he planned to join him.

At the time, he laughed and replied jokingly: “I’m not planning to defect – to the Democratic Unionist Party.”

Yet two years later, Mr Logan has indeed – like Mr Wakeford, Dan Poulter and Natalie Elphicke in the parliament that has just ended – abandoned the Conservative Party and switched to Labour.

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In his shock statement announcing his defection, Mr Logan said he had done “much soul-searching throughout my first term in parliament”.

Not many politicians admit to that sort of self-doubt. But then Mr Logan has never been tribal like the more bombastic and shouty members of the Tories’ 2019 intake. You know who you are!

Nor is he a divisive figure like the most recent previous Tory defector to Labour, Natalie Elphicke, whose welcome from the party leadership appalled some Labour MPs and activists.

And though he won his seat from Labour’s Sir David Crausby, who represented Bolton North East from 1997 until 2019, it’s not a Red Wall seat.

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It was represented by the Conservative Peter Thurnham from 1983 until he became an independent, before joining the Liberal Democrats in 1996.

So Mr Logan is not the first representative for Bolton North East to quit his party and join a rival.

He was born in Ballymena in County Antrim and graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast, before doing master’s degrees at the London School of Economics and Wadham College, Oxford.

Before becoming an MP he was a Foreign Office diplomat at the British Consulate-General in Shanghai. He’s fluent in Mandarin and has learned Japanese since being elected in 2019.

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In the 2017 general election, he fought East Antrim, the seat represented by the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, for the Conservative Party and came sixth with a derisory 963 votes.

But the Brexit-backing candidate won Bolton North East by just 378 votes in 2019, and has faced the relentless stress of representing a seat with a tiny majority.

The seat has a large Muslim community and Mr Logan has been a strong advocate for Gaza, while being a bitter critic of Israel and its response to the Hamas attacks on 7 October last year.

But he hasn’t just been a Gaza rebel. He quit as a parliamentary private secretary, the lowest rung on the ministerial ladder, to Northern Ireland ministers in 2022 in protest at Boris Johnson’s “partygate” and the Chris Pincher “groping” scandal.

When Rishi Sunak became prime minister, Mr Logan became a PPS to Department for Work and Pensions ministers.

Sunak ally Mel Stride, the secretary of state, won’t be pleased by his defection.

Now he’s backing Sir Keir Starmer for prime minister, he hopes to be a Labour candidate.

But his views on Israel and Gaza, as well as being at odds with the Conservative government, are not quite mainstream Labour either.


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