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Former Tory MP Dan Poulter Defects to Labour Over NHS Concerns



Former Conservative MP and ex-minister Dan Poulter has announced his defection to the Labour Party due to concerns over the state of the National Health Service (NHS). In an exclusive interview with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Poulter cited his inability to align with the Conservatives’ current approach to public services, particularly the NHS.

Dr. Poulter, who serves as a part-time doctor, expressed his disillusionment with the Conservative Party‘s perceived shift away from valuing public services, a departure from the party he initially joined in 2010. He highlighted his struggles to maintain a clear conscience while interacting with NHS colleagues, patients, and constituents as a factor in his decision to switch allegiance.

Having previously held the position of health minister during the coalition government from 2012 to 2015, Poulter emphasized his belief that the Tories no longer uphold the compassionate principles that initially attracted him to the party. He acknowledged having no personal animosity towards Prime Minister Rishi Sunak but stressed the importance of a prompt general election.

Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, welcomed Dr. Poulter’s decision to join their ranks, asserting the need to move beyond the current Conservative challenges and focus on the future of Britain. The impending local elections on May 2 now carry additional weight following this high-profile defection.

Dr. Poulter’s move marks only the third Conservative defection since 2019, following the footsteps of Lee Anderson and Christian Wakeford. His departure exposes a growing rift within the Conservative Party and underscores the urgency for a realignment of priorities in addressing critical issues like healthcare.

Reflecting on his experiences as both an MP and a practicing psychiatrist, Poulter lamented the strain on NHS resources and the impact on patients, families, and healthcare workers. He pointed to the concerning trends in NHS performance indicators, emphasizing the dire need for systemic reforms and renewed investment.

The state of the NHS, characterized by record-long waiting lists and inadequate mental health services, served as a catalyst for Poulter’s transition to the Labour Party. He highlighted the disparities in healthcare provision and the failure to address crucial aspects of mental health legislation as further reasons for his defection.

With calls for an early general election and a renewed focus on public services, Dr. Poulter’s shift to Labour signals a significant political realignment. As the political landscape evolves, the implications of Poulter’s decision reverberate beyond party lines, shaping the discourse around healthcare policy and government priorities.

Rachel Adams

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