Sarah Wollaston Biography
Sarah Wollaston is a British Independent politician. She is the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Totnes, and Chair of the Liaison Committee and the Health Select Committee in the House of Commons.
Wollaston was born in Woking, Surrey, and studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London. In 1986, she and worked as a junior hospital doctor and then as a general practitioner (GP). After more than twenty years in clinical practice, Wollaston ran for political office. She was the first person to be selected as the parliamentary candidate for a major British political party through a postal open primary. During the campaign, she emphasised that she was not a career politician, and had actually had a real job. As the Conservative Party candidate for Totnes at the 2010 general election she won the seat with an increased majority, increasing it further in 2015.
She rebelled against the Cameron-Clegg government on several key votes—voting in favour of a referendum on British membership of the European Union in 2011, for a cut in the EU budget in 2011, and against military intervention in Syria in 2013. She has been a vocal proponent of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and has spoken out against political patronage in Westminster. Initially a prominent Eurosceptic, in June 2016, she announced that she was no longer supporting the Vote Leave campaign in the referendum on European Union membership, and would vote to remain in the EU.
In a House of Commons debate on the rollout of Universal Credit on Wednesday, 18 October 2017, she said she would defy the Conservative Party whip during the debate and side with the Labour Party, who called for the suspension of Universal Credit.
Wollaston was elected as Chair of the Liaison Committee on 13 November 2017.
On 20 February 2019, Wollaston left the Conservative Party and joined The Independent Group.
Sarah Wollaston Age
She was born on 17 February 1962 in Woking, United Kingdom. She is 57 years old as of 2018.
Sarah Wollaston Husband|Sarah Wollaston Kids
while studying medicine at Guy’s Hospital, she met with her current husband Adrian James. Adrian James is a psychiatrist, in South Devon, and is a registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They have two daughters and one son. She is a keen cyclist and took part in the 2014 RideLondon 100-mile bike race with her husband.
Sarah Wollaston Family
She was born into a military family. This made her family to move frequently during the early years of life as her father – a supplies and catering officer in the Royal Air Force, and formerly a diver and bomb disposal specialist in the Royal Navy – was posted to different bases around the world, including postings to Hong Kong and Malta.
Sarah Wollaston Education
She went to a mixture of service and civilian primary schools, later attending a girls’ grammar school in Watford. She was made the Head Girl in 1979–1980. Whilst at secondary school, she took on a range of part-time jobs, including a Saturday job at her local branch of John Lewis. She left sixth form with high grades in science subjects at A-level that she needed to study Medicine at university.
Sarah Wollaston Career
In 1980, Wollaston entered the Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London as a medical student.Alongside her studies, she took a part-time role as a healthcare assistant at the hospital to supplement her student grant.
in 1986, she graduated with a degree in Medicine. She then moved to Devon to work as a part-time GP in a town on the edge of Dartmoor.
She was also a police surgeon from 1996-2001, dealing with victims of sexual assaults, advising the police on whether a suspect is fit to be interviewed, and treating people in custody.
She went full-time in her GP role; alongside that, she taught medical students and trainee GPs and worked as an examiner for the Royal College of General Practitioners.
She remained on the medical register, but she stopped practising medicine in 2010 when she was elected to Parliament.
She joined the Conservative Party in 2006, having been spurred into politics by her opposition to the threatened closure of Moretonhampstead Community Hospital.
Urged to do so by the national party, the local Conservative Association had already decided that the selection would be made by an open primary, in which non-members would have a vote.
On 9 July, the Conservative Party leader David Cameron announced that the party would, for the first time, send a postal ballot paper to every voter instead of holding the selection at an open meeting.
Wollaston later said that she might not have put her name forward had she known that the selection was to be by open primary.
During the selection process, Wollaston campaigned on the problems of alcohol-related crime, citing also the 8,000 annual deaths from alcohol.
In the selection result, Wollaston was proclaimed the winner with 7,914 votes, ahead of Sara Randall Johnson who had 5,495, and Nick Bye who had 3,088.
Nearly a quarter of all voters returned their ballots, a higher turnout than was expected.
As the general election approached, Wollaston made clear her anger at suggestions that she would be a part-time MP, saying that she would not continue her medical practice if elected.
The local branch of Liberal Democrats denied that they were behind rumours that Wollaston intended to continue to practise medicine on a part-time basis.
She pledged to vote in a eurosceptic direction and to support a bypass for Kingskerswell.
On election day Wollaston was elected with a 45.9% share of the vote, and more than doubled the Conservative’s majority.
She supported the formation of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government as being the most appropriate for her constituency in the circumstances after the election, explaining that voters wanted to see politicians working together.
In March 2013, Wollaston was reselected by her local Conservative Association to fight the 2015 general election as the Conservative candidate.
On polling day she was re-elected with 53% of the vote, more than tripling her majority to 18,285.
In the 2017 general election, she was returned with a reduced majority of 13,477, despite gaining 2,031 more votes.
Wollaston’s maiden speech in Parliament, on 2 June 2010, outlined her concerns about alcohol-related crime and alcoholic drink pricing, and also mentioned issues of concern in her constituency, including bovine tuberculosis.
In her first year in the Commons, Wollaston referred to her experience working with sexual assault victims in warning the Government against its plans to introduce anonymity for people suspected of, or charged with, rape.
In October 2010, she announced that she would not vote to repeal the Hunting Act 2004 because “The overwhelming majority” in her constituency were opposed to hunting.
She broke the Conservative whip in November 2010 to support an amendment setting a threshold of 40% turnout for the result of the referendum on voting systems to be valid, and later that month supported a Labour amendment to allow more policyholders to claim compensation over the collapse in Equitable Life dividends.
In March 2011, Wollaston warned David Cameron that the Government’s NHS reforms would result in the NHS going “Belly up”.
Her opposition to the NHS reforms calmed after the party leadership changed certain clauses at her suggestions and she eventually voted in favour of passage of the Health and Social Care Bill.
During her campaign for selection as Conservative candidate in Totnes, Wollaston pledged to tackle the issue of alcohol misuse, having seen the impact of it during her medical career.
When plans to introduce minimum pricing were shelved by the Government in 2013, Wollaston strongly criticised David Cameron and Department for Health Ministers, saying that the change in policy was due to lobbying by Conservative Party strategist Lynton Crosby, whose firm had strong ties to the alcohol industry.
Having been on the draft Bill Committee for the Care and Support Bill, Wollaston was selected to sit on the Public Bill Committee for the Care Bill in early 2014.
Wollaston said the Government should publish details of agency charges as transparency would “Drive changes to behaviour”.
Wollaston was reckoned by the Health Service Journal to be the 20th-most influential person in the English NHS in 2015.
Before entering the House of Commons, Wollaston stated that she was “Strongly pro-choice”, and would not support lowering the abortion limit, as such a measure would affect those who are in the greatest need.
In 2011, she voted against backbench amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill which would have prevented abortion providers from offering counselling services.
Wollaston voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in 2013, writing that “People who are gay should be allowed to celebrate their love and commitment in a context that society understands”.
Wollaston rebelled against the Government to vote against setting up a Royal Charter to regulate the press, claiming that many of the activities which had led to the proposal were already illegal and were being exploited to justify censoring the free press.
Coming from a non-political background, Wollaston has consistently spoken out in favour of reforming the political system to make it more open and accessible.
She has often spoken out against political patronage in Westminster and the role of the payroll vote in silencing dissent amongst MPs. She has suggested that vacancies for Parliamentary Private Secretary roles should put out for application and interview to find the most qualified candidate, rather than the candidate most in favour with the Government.
In 2013, she suggested that the idea of expanding primaries had been ‘shelved’ because it was felt that they produce ‘awkward’ independently-minded MPs. Foreign and European policy In August 2013, Wollaston rebelled and voted against military intervention in Syria, saying that such a move could escalate into a wider conflict with hundreds of thousands of victims.
She cited strong opposition to intervention by her constituents as a key factor in deciding to vote against.
On the European Union, Wollaston originally supported loosening the relationship between Britain and Brussels and that she would reluctantly vote to leave the EU if reform could not be achieved.
In the House of Commons, she voted in a Eurosceptic manner in several key divisions, voting for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership and voting to reduce the EU budget.
Wollaston initially supported the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum on European Union membership, stating in an article in The Guardian following David Cameron’s renegotiation of membership terms in February 2016 that “The prime minister has returned with a threadbare deal that has highlighted our powerlessness to effect institutional change” and that “The balance of our national interest now lies outside the EU”. However, she announced on 8 June 2016 that she would change sides to campaign for Britain to remain in the EU, claiming that Vote Leave’s assertion that exiting the union would make available £350m a week for health spending “Simply isn’t true” and represented “Post-truth politics”.
Michael Deacon of The Daily Telegraph wrote that her decision to switch sides had sparked a conspiracy theory among many leave campaigners that she was a “Government plant”, while fellow Conservative MP and Eurosceptic Nadine Dorries said that Wollaston’s change of opinion was “Deliberately staged and political”.
In December 2017, Wollaston voted along with fellow Conservative Dominic Grieve and nine other Tory MPs against the government, and in favour of guaranteeing Parliament a “Meaningful vote” on any deal Theresa May agrees with Brussels over Brexit.
She also supports the People’s Vote campaign for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union.
Sarah Wollaston Resignation
On the 20th February 2019, she resigned from the Conservative Party, along with two other MPs from her party, joining The Independent Group.
Sarah Wollaston News
Independent Group: Three MPs quit Tory party to join Independent Group
Published on 20 February 2019
Three Tory MPs have resigned from the party to join an independent group, set up by former Labour MPs.
Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen wrote a joint letter to Theresa May to confirm their departure.
The three held a press conference, criticising the government for letting the “hard-line anti-EU awkward squad” take over the party.
The PM said she was “saddened”, but her party would “always offer… decent, moderate and patriotic politics”.
The pro-Remain trio will join the new Independent Group – made up of eight Labour MPs who resigned from their party over its handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism – saying it represented “the centre ground of British politics”.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Ms Soubry criticised Theresa May for being “in the grip” of the Democratic Unionist Party and the pro-Leave European Research Group, and allowing Brexit to “define and shape” the Conservative Party.
She said: “The battle is over, the other side has won.
“The right wing, the hard-line anti-EU awkward squad that have destroyed every leader for the last 40 years are now running the Conservative Party from top to toe. They are the Conservative Party.”
Ms Wollaston said she felt “great sadness” at quitting the party, but said Mrs May “simply hasn’t delivered on the pledge she made on the steps of Downing Street to tackle the burning injustices in our society”.
And Ms Allen highlighted her concerns around poverty, as well as Brexit, saying: “I can no longer represent a government and a party who can’t open its eyes to the suffering endured by the most vulnerable in society – suffering which we have deepened whilst having the power to fix.”
The three MPs said they will support the government on areas such as the economy, security and improvements to public services, and Ms Soubry defended the record of the coalition government – including the “necessary” austerity measures taken by chancellor George Osborne.
But they felt “honour bound to put our constituents’ and country’s interests first” over Brexit.
Watched by the eight other members of The Independent Group on the front row at the press conference, Ms Allen said she was “excited” about the future, adding: “I want to be part of something better, a party that people vote for because they want to, not because they feel they have to.”
The departure of the three MPs – who all support the People’s Vote campaign for another EU referendum – has reduced the government’s working majority to nine MPs, and Ms Allen claimed there were “absolutely” other colleagues “keen” to join the group.
And the Independent Group now has more MPs in Parliament than the Democratic Unionist Party and equals the number of Liberal Democrats.
Today’s departures are evidence of how serious Conservative divisions have become.
Right now, as with Labour, it’s a splinter, not a split. But don’t underestimate how hard a decision it is for any MP to abandon their tribe.
These departures illustrate, therefore, a real problem for the governing party.
Like Labour, the Tories have big questions they can’t answer at the moment – profound quandaries that it’s not clear their leaderships are ready, or perhaps even capable right now of meeting.
Mrs May said the UK’s membership of the EU had been “a source of disagreement both in our party and our country for a long time”, so “ending that membership after four decades was never going to be easy”.
But, she added: “By delivering on our manifesto commitment and implementing the decision of the British people we are doing the right thing for our country.”
Former Prime Minister David Cameron said he respected the decision of the three MPs, but disagreed with them, calling for “strong voices at every level of the party calling for modern, compassionate Conservatism.”
Mr Cameron added: “Our party has long been able to contain different views on Europe. Everyone must ensure that can continue to be the case.”
A Labour spokesman criticised The Independent Group, saying they had formed “what is effectively an establishment coalition based on the failed and rejected policies of the past”, such as austerity, corporate tax cuts and privatisation.
But Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said his party would “hold out the hand of friendship” to the group and said they already had “a good working relationship” with the MPs.
The Conservative party’s deputy chairman, Tory MP James Cleverly, told BBC Radio 5 Live that the resignations were “very sad and disappointing”, which was echoed by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire. But he added that the focus “has to remain on delivering Brexit” and the Conservative party was “a broad church and will remain so”.
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said it was a “great shame to have lost the commitment and undeniable talent” of the three MPs.
Remain-backing Tory MP Nicky Morgan said the party “should regret losing three such talented women from the Conservative Party”.
Former Cabinet office minister, Damian Green, tweeted that he hoped the three MPs rejoined the party one day.
Some Labour MPs have been criticising their former colleagues for joining forces with ex-Conservatives.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said it was “a new low” to see the MP of her home town, Ann Coffey, welcoming an MP responsible for government cuts, adding: “I’m utterly disgusted.”
Scottish Labour MP Danielle Rowley also questioned her former colleagues, tweeting: “How people who once called themselves Labour can cosy up next to the likes of Soubry, smiling and laughing, is absolutely beyond me.
“I guess we now know how their policies and values differ from Labour.”
Others have been criticising the group for not holding by-elections to win back their seats as independent MPs.
Douglas Carswell, who resigned from the Conservatives to join UKIP in 2014, tweeted: “When I changed parties it didn’t occur to me to not hold a by election. If my own electorate weren’t supportive, what was the point?”
However, Ms Allen rejected calls for them to step down to contest by-elections, saying: “This is what the big parties do. They want to crush the birth of democracy. They want to crush people like us trying to change things for this country.
“This is the game, of course, they will play but we are better than that, and we think our constituents and the country deserve better than that.”
Adopted from www.bbc.com
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