Brexit MP defects to Remain campaign over 'untrue' NHS claims

Sarah Wollaston said she was 'not comfortable' with the Leave camp's NHS claims. Credit: Peter Byrne / PA Archive

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston has left the European Union referendum 'Leave' camp over its claims about more money for the NHS if Britain leaves the EU.

Dr Wollaston, chairman of the health select committee, told the BBC she was "not comfortable" with the Brexit claim that leaving the EU would hand the NHS an extra £350 million a week.

Writing a column in the Times she described the claim by the Leave camp as "shameful".

The £350 million a week figure on Vote Leave's campaign bus. Credit: PA

The Totnes MP, who is a GP, warned there would actually be a "Brexit penalty" on the NHS as withdrawal would damage the economy.

She said: "The consensus now is there would be a huge economic shock if we voted to leave. Undoubtedly, the thing that's most going to influence the financial health of the NHS is the background economy. So I think there would be a Brexit penalty."

Dr Wollaston stood by her decision to switch sides, insisting: "Nobody wants politicians who make the wrong decision."

On Twitter she added that if Britain votes to leave the EU on June 23rd she would "feel a sense of loss rather than freedom".

A Vote Leave spokesperson told ITV News her defection is "bizarre".

David Cameron said Dr Wollaston's decision to change sides was "a powerful intervention".