GPs urged to oppose Labour in marginal seats

GPs have been challenged to stand as independent MPs in the next general election with a mandate to rid the NHS of political interference.

The BMA has been told to train a posse of GPs ready to fight on the 'depoliticisation' ticket.

Dorset GP Dr Andrew Bailey says GPs should target key Labour marginals and aim to unseat their MPs.

In 2001 Dr Richard Taylor, a retired physician, defeated Labour minister David Lock to win Wyre Forest as an independent. He campaigned to resist downgrading Kidderminster General Hospital. In the 2005 general election he became the only independent MP ever to retain their seat.

Dr Bailey said that it is time for the BMA to line up candidates for marginal constituencies. He has written to GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman.

'We need lots of GPs ready for when an election is called,' he said. 'You just need one local popular GP.'

The government's 'growing obsession with league tables, knee jerk reactions to media hype and the unrelenting media campaign against GPs has alienated many firm Labour -supporting doctors,' Dr Bailey added.

GPs approaching retirement could even fund themselves to stand for NHS independence, he suggested.

'Just imagine how many infuriated, well-respected local GPs will be retiring early over the next two years,' he said.

Dr Taylor said that for a candidate to become elected as an independent, they must be well-known locally and the sitting MP must be very unpopular and have taken the wrong line on a local issue. They must also define their cause in two to three words that create a catchy acronym to follow the word Independent on the ballot paper.

'I would be more than happy to talk to anyone who is serious about this,' Dr Taylor said.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said that the BMA cannot support prospective candidates because it has an 'apolitical stance'.

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

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