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Did Tory whips blackmail Red Wall MPs?

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As the Prime Minister has a stay of execution after the pork pie plot came to nothing, today allegations are flying that Tory whips have been using unsavoury methods to threaten wavering MPs into line. Christian Wakeford, the newly defected Labour MP to Bury South, says that whips threatened to withdraw funding from a local school; while William Wragg claims that MPs have been blackmailed with information about their private lives. But how much of this is true, and how much, as some in SW1 are saying today, is this just a part of being a whip?

On the podcast, James Forsyth points out how some of this comes down to 'the fact that some of the new intake of Tory MPs have been quite shocked at how aggressive the "flush-out" tactics have been', when it comes to using newspaper headlines to publicly name rebels (for example the pork pie-ers earlier this week). Meanwhile, Katy Balls tells Isabel Hardman that this will be a troubling development if more revelations come up: 'Any piece of news that can fit into the general narrative of Boris under pressure on party-gate and... give it a fresh lease of life, is a problem'.

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