Saturday 27 April 2024


Has Dan Poulter only just noticed about the National Health Service? Which measure has he voted against? On which has he even so much as abstained? On the contrary, albeit all the way back in 2013, he was the Minister who sold 80 per cent of Plasma Resources UK to an American private equity firm. Yes, that was as part of the Coalition, for every aspect of which both parties to it remain responsible. But even so. In 2012, Poulter had resigned from the BMA because it had voted to strike. The Labour Party welcomes him with open arms.

Now Lord Framlingham because he was not allowed to become Lord Lord, Poulter's predecessor at Central Suffolk and North Ipswich was Sir Michael Lord. A nationalist party of the Right, indeed. Poulter has not defected in order to save his seat. That was true of Christian Wakeford, of course. But Poulter's majority is 23,391. Poulter is one of very few MPs who really could make more outside. Keir Starmer has clearly offered him a way of doing so. Watch out for his advisory role, or something of that nature.

They always do well. Elected to this Parliament as a Conservative, Wakeford is now a Labour Whip. Peter Temple-Morris was ennobled. Shaun Woodward was put in the Cabinet. Alan Howarth had been an architect of the Poll Tax, but it was like Howarth before him that Quentin Davies was made a Minister and then a Peer. Gordon Brown rapidly made Davies a Minister for the first time in his life, but he had been elected as a Conservative MP at all five of the 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2005 General Elections, and he had served in the Shadow Cabinets of Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard. The Conservative Party had taken an awfully long time to leave him. On defecting from Howard's party to a warmly welcoming Tony Blair's, Robert Jackson stated that he wanted to be in a party that was led by a Christian. Did someone say something about anti-Semitism?

If Poulter means what he says about the NHS, then why is he joining the party of Wes Streeting? At best, he would no doubt tell us that, "My party has left me." That never, ever leads to the follow-up question, "Yes, that may have been why you left your old party, but why have you joined this one?" Five Conservative MPs got away with that as they defected to Labour in the Blair years, in the case of Davies the night before Brown became Prime Minister. It has been 47 years since a Labour MP last joined the Conservative Party, and that was only the third time that it had ever happened. Both earlier cases had been in 1948, and both had been over the nationalisation of steel. Yet seven Conservative MPs have joined the Labour Party in the last 29 years alone, an average of one every four years, always without having recanted any part of their previous records.

But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair’s Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

I have no plan to join the Workers Party of Britain, although nor would I expect to stand against it. But if it did not contest North Durham, then I would. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. But there does need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not. We have made a start.


  1. He's retiring anyway but he's defected, not just resigned the whip? Very fishy.

    1. He has obviously been offered something less accountable.