Tory MP and former health minister defects to Labour over government 'failing' NHS

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
A Tory MP has quit Rishi Sunak's party -Credit:Getty Images

The former health minister has quit the Conservative government claiming it is "failing" the NHS. Tory MP Dr Dan Poulter has defected to Labour, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has said.

The clinician will take the Labour whip until the general election, when he will not be running again as the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, he told the Observer. Dr Poulter told the newspaper: "The health service has ceased to be an area of priority for the Conservative Party, and that is now showing in the strain on the front line and the deterioration of care for patients."

Mr Streeting said on social media site X: “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.” The defection is a significant blow to Mr Sunak less than a week before council and mayoral elections in which the Tories are expected to suffer heavy losses.

It marks the first time a Conservative MP crossed the floor to Labour since Christian Wakeford did so in 2022.