Outgoing Tory MP says he will vote Labour at the election and is applying to defect to Keir Starmer's party

Mark Logan (UK Parliament)
Mark Logan (UK Parliament)

A former Conservative MP who only stood down at this election says he is backing Labour to win and bring back “optimism into British life".

Mark Logan, who represented Bolton North East for the Conservatives until Parliament dissolved on Thursday, told BBC News he had now applied to join his former opponents.

He said Labour now represented “centrist” politics and said the Conservative Party he had represented was “unrecognisable” from the one he joined 10 years ago.

In a statement published online, Mr Logan said he cast his first ever vote for Labour and said he intended to do so again on July 4.

He last fought the seat in 2019 where he won with a slim majority of 378 and is standing down at this election.

Labour has already chosen its candidate for the northern marginal but Mr Logan refused to “rule out coming back into public life”.

Explaining his decision to support Labour, he said: "The time has come to bring back optimism into British public life."

He added: "For my constituents and for the country, it's right that we get some stability back into the UK, we get optimism, we get new and fresh ideas."

Mr Logan said he had been thinking about backing Labour "for quite a long period" but said he waited until he quit as an MP because his voters cast their ballots for him “as a Conservative MP".

The Conservative Party hit back at Mr Logan saying he had joined a part “he can’t even name a single policy of”.

A Tory spokesman said: “We wish Mark Logan well with the Labour Party – a party that has no plan for the country and would take us back to square one.

“We will select a new candidate in due course. The people of Bolton North East now have the choice to vote to stick with the plan by choosing bold action for a safer, more prosperous future with the Conservatives, or go back to square one with Keir Starmer and the same old Labour.”

It comes after two other MPs - Natalie Elphicke and Dan Poulter - also quit the Tories to join Labour earlier this month.

However, as they defected before Parliament was dissolved for the election, they briefly sat as Labour MPs before standing down and leaving politics.