Hunt majority cut by GP challenger as primary care minister loses seat

Jeremy Hunt has seen his majority reduced by around 7,000 votes by campaigning GP Dr Louise Irvine, while primary care minister David Mowat has lost his seat.

The National Health Action party candidate came in second place with 20% of the vote, taking more than 12,000 votes in the South West Surrey election on Thursday. The vote saw a massive 11.5% swing to the doctor-led NHA party which opposes NHS cuts and privatisation.

The health secretary’s vote fell from 34,199 in 2015 to 33,683.

Dr Irvine ran on a ‘progressive alliance’ platform with backing from local members of the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties.

The south London GP and GPC member told GPonline it was a 'great result'.

'It shows how much people care about and are worried about the NHS and reject the damaging Tory policies on the NHS,' she said.

'Jeremy Hunt was challenged on his NHS record and if he stays on as health secretary he will know that people in his constituency and across the country are watching him and will hold him to account for what happens to the NHS. He can’t get away with glib falsely reassuring soundbites any more - he will have to deliver real improvements in the NHS - for patients and staff.'

Health minister ousted

Conservative primary care minister David Mowat - who earlier this year suggested GP practices across England could merge into 1,500 superhubs - lost his Warrington South seat after Labour overturned his 2,750 vote majority.

Elsewhere, GP and Conservative MP Dr James Davies lost his north Wales Vale of Clwyd seat to Labour. The health select committee member, first elected in 2015, lost to Labour despite increasing his vote and share.

In Stockton South GP Dr Paul Williams was elected for Labour, taking the seat from Tory former minister James Wharton. The GP federation chief executive won the shock result with a 5.7% swing. The victory was described by ITV political editor Robert Peston as the ‘most significant result of the night’.

Two former Tory health ministers lost their seats. Jane Ellison, public health minister under David Cameron from 2013 to 2016, lost her Battersea seat when Labour overturned her 8,000 majority.

In Ipswich Labour took the seat of Ben Gummer, junior health minister from 2015 to 2016.

Conservative health select committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston held her Totnes seat.

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