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Ex-Tory MP Sarah Wollaston defects to the Liberal Democrats

Written by on 14/08/2019

The Liberal Democrats have gained another MP after former Conservative Sarah Wollaston joined their ranks.

Her move brings the number of MPs representing parliament’s fourth-biggest party up to 14, following swiftly on from the recent election of Janet Dodds in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

Dr Wollaston, chair of the influential Commons health select committee, had defected with two other Tories, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry, to The Independent Group in February.

The 11 Independent Group MPs

Image: Wollaston was among the MPs who joined The Independent Group in February

At the time, she used her speech to attack then prime minister Theresa May for failing to tackle the “burning injustices” promised in her first address on the steps of Number 10.

“If I wouldn’t encourage others to vote Conservative in a general election, then how can I possibly continue with the Conservative whip?” the Totnes MP asked.

Months later, after the rebranded group Change UK failed to break through at the European Parliament elections, she and five other MPs quit to become independents.

In a joint statement, they said doing so would make them “best placed to work cross-party and respond flexibly”.

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The Lib Dems have already poached one of the group – the former Labour member Chuka Umunna.

All those who resigned their respective party whips have been challenged over the months to call by-elections and re-stand on their new platforms, a move they have resisted.

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