A RED wall Tory has denied suggestions she is considering defecting to Labour to save her seat in Parliament.

Dehenna Davison, who represents Bishop Auckland with the Conservative Party, rejected the notion she would cross the house to remain an MP.

She posted on Twitter in response to an article in the Mail on Sunday which said it had found a ‘mid-term crash in support’ in the 57 former Labour and marginal seats gained by the Tories in 2019.

There are said to be concerns in Downing Street that Keir Starmer is now 16 points ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the polls.

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The article included a photograph of Ms Davison and pointed out 15 Tory MPs representing former Labour strongholds or marginals have voted against the Conservatives on five or more occasions in this Parliamentary session.

Ms Davison, one of seven Tory MPs elected in the region just over two years ago, said: “Despite a huge picture of my face in this article, I can confirm I 100 per cent will not be defecting.

“The Conservative Party has been home to me for over 12 years, and will be for many more to come. As if I would abandon my principles for some speculative electoral gain based on a few recent polls.

“It’s frankly insulting to even suggest it.”

One MP, who like Ms Davison, opposed further Covid restrictions, told the Mail on Sunday that ‘dividing lines’ appeared to be emerging between the ‘actions of the leadership and the concerns of their voters’.

Ms Davison told the Northern Echo: “The article was total nonsense”

On Monday morning cabinet minister Michael Gove said those within the Conservative Party were in “full agreement” on the aims of the Government.

It came as Tory Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen warned the Prime Minister voters “will punish” him at the ballot box if he does not deliver on levelling-up promises.

But Mr Gove said Mr Johnson was still delivering on those promises, dubbing him “the Pep Guardiola of politics”.

He told LBC: “We’re going to get on with the job, we’re going to deliver investment in communities that need it, we’re going to make sure that there are well-paying, dignified jobs in communities that have been neglected by the Labour Party in the past, we’re going to work with great Tory mayors like Ben Houchen to deliver them.”

Mr Gove said the PM was “the true blue champion, and even though we don’t necessarily win every match, he is an inspirational leader”.

There is, however, unrest in Tory ranks about rising national insurance contributions and it comes after former Brexit minister Lord Frost resigned, in part due to concern over rising taxes.

Mr Gove told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There are choices that do need to be made. But, ultimately, we’ve made those choices.

“We’ve committed to the public spending required in order to generate economic growth, and as we will in due course get that economic growth, we will also in due course cut taxes.”

He added: “One of the things I think everyone, certainly everyone from the Conservative Party but I think, actually, most people in politics, would agree is if we can have every part of the United Kingdom operating as effectively economically as London and the South East currently do, that provides not just opportunity for more individuals, it also provides more for the Exchequer as well.”

Mr Gove said there is enough money to achieve the Government’s levelling-up ambitions.

He said: “The amount of public spending already committed in the Spending Review is higher than any government has committed to public spending in history. Budget is there to be used, deployed and allocated to support levelling up.”

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