Tory MPs accuse colleagues of ‘gaming the system’ with attempts to move to safe seats

Politics

Conservative MPs defending slim majorities have accused colleagues of “gaming the system” to try and move to safer seats and maximise their chances of keeping their jobs.

There is “fury” at the “ultra-confidential” process which will allow some Tories to switch constituencies ahead of the next election.

Around 15 parliamentarians have applied to be declared “displaced” due to upcoming changes to constituency boundaries.

But some Tory MPs have argued that a number of colleagues are abusing the system to move to safer seats and maximise the chance of remaining in parliament.

“There is a sense of deep unfairness and fury,” said one Tory MP.

“Why am I slogging my guts out in a marginal seat with the polls heavily against us while others bugger off to safer constituencies? Which one’s the mug?

“They’re pretending to be local champions but they’re not. It’s all for show. This is creating bloody mayhem.”

Blackpool South’s Scott Benton is on the list of “displaced” MPs, Sky News understands.

“I’m not saying I have or haven’t applied,” he said.

“But I am actively considering standing in Blackpool South at the next election.”

Scott Benton is understood to be on the 'displaced' list
Image:
Scott Benton is understood to be on the ‘displaced’ list

Eddie Hughes, whose Walsall North seat is being merged into Walsall and Bloxwich, is also said to have applied.

Colleagues claim he is interested in the safer Tamworth constituency likely to be vacated by disgraced former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.

Mr Hughes has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

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Eddie Hughes' Walsall North seat is being merged
Image:
Eddie Hughes’ Walsall North seat is being merged

Other MPs in the West Midlands are eyeing up the Bromsgrove constituency of former minister Sajid Javid who is standing down from parliament at the next election.

Sports minister Stuart Andrew, whose Pudsey seat is being split up, has confirmed his application to be considered “displaced” has been successful.

“I need to consider what my next steps will be,” he said.

Stuart Andrew confirmed he is on the 'displaced' list
Image:
Stuart Andrew confirmed he is on the ‘displaced’ list

In recent weeks, MPs applying to be declared “displaced” made a presentation and answered questions from a five-person panel – including two members of the Conservative Party board and a representative of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers.

“It’s f****** disgraceful,” said a Conservative MP.

“The kangaroo court of [1922 officials] Graham Brady and William Wragg nodded all these people through.”

But another MP said: “I don’t see it as a chicken run. Some constituencies are disappearing and it’s fair they’re given the option to stand elsewhere.”

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “Displacement rights are given to MPs whose constituencies are materially and adversely changed by the boundary review. It is not a guarantee of getting another seat.”

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