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Gold, incentives and meh

Dr Sarah Wollaston moves to the Lib Dems

Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Commitee, has now joined the Liberal Democrats, making it the third political party she’s been part of this year. 

Dr Wollaston, who spent over a decade as a GP, trainer and RCGP examiner, credited healthcare as a reason behind the move. In an open letter to constituents, she said: ‘As a doctor for over 24 years, I try to base my decisions on evidence, and as that emerges, to be open to changing course.

‘As the economic facts unfolded, I found myself unable to support a version of Brexit with consequences that I know would hurt so many individuals, businesses, families and communities’.

She also referenced the ‘careful thought’ that had gone into deciding to represent Totnes, Devon as a Liberal Democrat, and described Brexit as sucking the ‘all the political oxygen from Government’.

Initially a Conservative, Dr Wollaston quit the majority party in February, over Brexit. Having originally supported efforts to leave the EU, she changed her mind and also cited her experiences working in the NHS in her resignation letter on this occasion. 

During her time as a Tory, Dr Wollaston urged then-Prime Minister Theresa May to apologise to GPs for scapegoating them for the A&E crisis.

However, she later gained a place among the eleven MPs who united from various parties to form Change UK, previously known as The Independent Group. But Dr Wollaston rescinded her membership after just four months. 

Jo Swinson, who took over as Liberal Democrats leader last month, applauded the news, stating on social media: ‘Delighted to welcome Sarah Wollaston to the Liberal Democrats! She is a fantastic MP, a great person to work with and a huge asset to the team. Can’t wait to continue to fight to stop Brexit and build a fairer society with an economy that works for people and the planet.’

The sentiment was echoed by Chuka Umunna, who, like Dr Wollaston, swapped from Change UK to the Liberal Democrats this year. He commented: ‘Sarah joining us is a huge issue… She is widely respected in the House of Commons and throughout the country’.

Readers' comments (14)

  • Outrageous.
    Msndatory byelection.

    It is axiomatic of any economic decision that as many winners as losers are created.
    Besides, no one can forsee the future, also a fairly evidencebased conclusion

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  • Who cares ?

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I doubt the Tories will care. In other circs I'd make a joke about rats joining a sinking ship, but I strongly suspect she is far too nice a person to say that about her, even though I've never met her.
    She might even haunt these fora?

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  • Cobblers

    As much as those supreme egotists, elected MPs, might think, in the main they are elected for their party, not their person. (You could put a gibbon up for election at Henley and as long as it had a blue rosette it would get a stonking majority)

    My point in the preamble is that should you change parties then a by-election should become necessary. That it is not current law suggests an extreme arrogance on behalf of the law makers. No surprise there.

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  • Glad to see she has left the 'nasty party', my respect for her has gone up.

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  • Vinci Ho

    As far as political ethics is concerned, there is indeed an argument whether you should resign from parliament if you switch your membership of a political party . When I advocated her to resign from Conservative Party a few years ago on this platform, it was to be followed immediately by renouncing her MP position and triggering a by-election . The chance for her to be re-elected as an independent MP , in fact , was substantial. But it was then , this is now .

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  • Vinci Ho

    This is from Wikipedia:

    Call for mandatory by-elections for MPs switching parties

    In March 2019, it emerged that Wollaston had supported a 2011 bill that required MPs who switch parties to face an automatic by-election.[75] Wollaston herself switched parties on 20 February 2019, but did not call a by-election. Chair of the Labour Party in Totnes and South Devon, Lynn Alderson, said Dr Wollaston "made her views clear".[76] Wollaston acknowledged the likely calls for her to face a by-election but refused such a proposal, stating "neither this nor a general election would answer the fundamental question that is dividing us".[77]

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  • |David Turner | GP|16 Aug 2019 6:45pm
    Glad to see she has left the 'nasty party', my respect for her has gone up.

    And joined a party that wants to ignore democracy? My respect for you has gone down :)

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  • Let’s hope that her next move will be to her surgery to help tackle the GP shortage.

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  • Wouldn't want her working in my practice - has proved herself untrustworthy

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