Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has defected from the Conservatives and joined the Labour Party.

The Observer has reported the former health minister, who has represented his constituency since the 2010 election, has crossed the floor in the House of Commons over the Tories' handling of the NHS.

He has accused the Conservatives of becoming “nationalist party of the right” and said it has abandoned ­compassion and no longer prioritises the health service.

Dr Poulter, who works part-time as an NHS doctor, also confirmed he is stepping down as an MP at the next general election.

Writing in the Observer, Dr Poulter said: "Working on the frontline of a health service under great strain left me at times, as an MP, struggling to look my NHS colleagues, my patients and my constituents in the eye.

"Throughout the small hours, my clinical colleagues and I cared for many patients suffering from serious psychosis who would routinely be waiting several days, rather than hours, in a windowless room in A&E for a mental health bed."

East Anglian Daily Times: Dr Poulter works part-time for the NHSDr Poulter works part-time for the NHS (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

Shadow Health Secretary Wes 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.”