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Tory MP Dan Poulter defects to Labour over NHS ‘chaos’ | Politics News

Conservative MP and former health minister Dan Poulter has defected to Labour.

The MP for Suffolk Central and Ipswich North, with a majority of 23,321 at the last election, has indicated he is not planning to stand at the next general election.

The defection was revealed in an article on The Observer website, in which the part-time GP outlined why he was switching parties.

He said: “The chaos of today’s fragmented patchwork of community addiction services – making A&E the default location for people to get treatment and help – has added pressure to an already overstretched service.

“The mental toll of a service stretched close to breaking point is not confined to patients and their families. It also weighs heavily on my NHS colleagues who are unable to deliver the right care in a system that simply no longer works for our patients.

“It is this which has led me today to have resigned from the Conservative party to focus on my work as a doctor and to support Keir Starmer.”

Dan Poulter MP
The MP for Suffolk Central and Ipswich North said he won’t stand at the next general election

He told the Observer the Conservatives had become “a nationalist party of the right, much more of what we see in Europe” in the last eight years.

“It is not to say all [Tory] MPs are like that,” he said.

“There are good MPs, but it feels that the party is ever moving rightwards, ever presenting a more nationalist position.”

The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer celebrated the defection on social media.

“It’s fantastic to welcome Dr Dan Poulter MP to today’s changed Labour Party,” he said in a post on X.

“It’s time to end the Conservative chaos, turn the page, and get Britain’s future back. I’m really pleased that Dan has decided to join us on this journey.”

Pic: Danny Lawson/PA
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to the village of Cawood, Selby, North Yorkshire, to set out new plans for the first ever government-backed Rural Crime Strategy to tackle the issues blighting communities outside of Britain's towns and cities. Picture date: Tuesday April 23, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Labour. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “really pleased” to welcome Dr Poulter to his party. File pic: PA

Sky’s Jon Craig called the defection a “disastrous blow for the Conservatives and a massive propaganda coup for Labour.”

“Dr Poulter’s defection means the Commons majority of 80, won by Boris Johnson in December 2019, is now just 41, roughly half what it was three-and-a-half years ago,” he added.

“But more than the terrible numbers, bad as they are, it is his threat to support Labour on the NHS in the run-up to the general election that will alarm the Conservatives.”

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Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said in a tweet: “Proud to welcome Dr Dan Poulter MP to the @UKLabour Party.

“As a frontline clinician, he’s seen the damage that 14 years of Conservative government have done to our NHS.

“Delighted to have his support and look forward to working with him, especially on mental health reform.”

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