Dan Poulter MP leaves the Tories and joins Labur

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Dan Poulter MP leaves the Tories and joins Labour

Dan Poulter MP has defected from the Tories to Labor (Alamy)

3 minutes reading

MP Dan Poulter has left the Conservatives and joined the Labor Party, accusing the Tories of becoming “a nationalist party of the right”.

Poulter, a former health secretary who has been MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich since 2010, told on Saturday The observer he had decided to join Keir Starmer’s party because the Tories had become less compassionate and no longer prioritized the NHS.

Poulter has become the latest Conservative figure to switch to Labor after Christian Wakeford, the MP for Bury South, took office in 2022.

Richard Walker, the boss of Iceland supermarket, announced earlier this year that he had stopped donating to the Conservatives to side with Labour. In February, PoliticsHome revealed that former Tory minister Nick Boles had started advising shadow ministers on preparing for government.

Poulter’s defection represents a major blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s bid to build momentum ahead of next week’s highly anticipated local and mayoral elections.

He told the newspaper that the health service was the main reason for his defection, and accused his former party of abandoning its commitments to the NHS when David Cameron, now the foreign secretary, stopped being Tory prime minister eight years ago.

‘I need to be able to look my NHS colleagues in the eyes, my patients in the eyes and my constituents in the eyes. And I know the Conservative government has failed on what I care about most, which is the NHS and its patients,” he said.

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“The values ​​of the Conservative Party have changed over the past eight years…

“The values ​​of the Conservative party under David Cameron were different values ​​and the priorities were very different. David Cameron undoubtedly had a very strong commitment to the NHS.

“Since he ceased to be Prime Minister eight years ago, healthcare has ceased to be a priority area for the Conservative Party, and this is now reflected in the pressure on the frontline and the deterioration of care for patients.”

Poulter then accused his former party of drifting away from the center and issues voters care about and moving further to the right.

‘I feel that the Tory Party has evolved from a pragmatic, centrist, centre-right party that focused on and understood the importance of the public service and the state to achieve certain things… and had a compassionate view on important issues. It has moved away from that and it feels like it has become a nationalist party of the right, much more like what we see in Europe,” he said.

Poulter has given up the Tory whip to join Labor but has no plans to stand in the next general election. He said he hopes to advise the opposition party on its mental health policy in the run-up to the next election, which Sunak is due to call this year.

Starmer said: “It is fantastic to welcome Dr Dan Poulter, MP, to today’s transformed Labor Party.

“My party is back at the service of working people. Our mission is to grow the economy and rebuild our public services. I am delighted that Dan will help us get the NHS back on its feet.”

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