Devon

Sarah Wollaston MP joins Lib Dems: Voters' reaction

Jo Swinson and Sarah Wollaston Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson welcomed Ms Wollaston to the party.

An MP's decision to switch parties has been both derided and welcomed by her constituents.

Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes in Devon, has joined the Liberal Democrat party.

One voter accused her of being a "turncoat" while another said he was now more likely to vote for her.

Ms Wollaston was one of three Tory MPs to quit the party in February and join what would become Change UK, but she left the newly formed party in June.

The MP was re-elected in 2017 with a majority of 13,477 over Labour.

'Damaged reputation'

Image caption Tara Bently-Curtin wants a politician "who knows their mind"

Tara Bently-Curtin said people wanted "a politician who knows their mind and is going to support one cause".

She said: "You need to have a really solid view of what you believe in.

"It's such an extreme going from the Conservatives who want Brexit to the Lib Dems, which is the only party that's consistently been 'stay in the EU'.

"I think her reputation will be damaged."

'Not about individuals'

Image caption Juliet Wilson said the MP's decision was "egotistical"

Juliet Wilson said: "It's extraordinarily egotistical to assume that the electorate want to suddenly switch from one party to another.

"We don't, in reality, vote for her.

"We vote for the party and what the party represents. It's not about individuals, it's not about egos - it's about what we want to happen for this country."

'Positive move'

Image caption Bibi Ana Lewis welcomed any move to "a liberal point of view"

Bibi Ana Lewis said: "I think considering the state the government is in and the mistakes it has been making, speaking purely as a young person, any move towards any kind of liberal point of view would be positive.

"I don't know how much respect she's going to lose for moving around so much but any move to a liberal point of view is appreciated by anyone my age."

'No representation'

Image caption Sarah Wollaston is a "turncoat", according to John Watson

John Watson said Ms Wollaston was a "turncoat" who had "let the people of Totnes down".

He said: "Initially she voted to leave the EU and then she changed to stay.

"Basically, now she's jumped ship to another party, we've got no representation in Totnes and I think if she stands for the next election as a Liberal Democrat, I don't think she would get in.

"Too many people will be against her."

'Hefty majority'

Image caption Rupert Morrison said he might vote for Ms Wollaston for the first time

Rupert Morrison said he thought the fairest thing to do would be to hold a by-election.

He said: "She had a pretty hefty majority but I don't necessarily think that people are voting for the politician in this area. I think they're voting for the party.

"It will be fascinating to see what happens there.

"I'd hope in a general election if she is to represent the Lib Dems, that's far more aligned with me personally and as a business. For the first time, I'd be inclined to vote for her."

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