In Defence of Liberty

Driven by data; ridden with liberty.

People can change their mind

It has been a strange referendum.

Members of Parliament, in their Burkean duty, were expected to declare for either Remain or Leave. One of those MPs decided to change their mind. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP (Conservative, Totnes) had previously stated she wished for the UK to leave the European Union, but now backs Remain [1].

“Knowingly placed a financial lie”

The reasoning was presented in an article by Dr Wollaston MP was written in The Times [2]:

They have knowingly placed a financial lie at the heart of their campaign, even emblazoning it on their battle bus, alongside the NHS branding, to imply a financial bonanza. It’s a empty promies and one which would soon backfire. A strong economy has always been the cornerstone of funding for the NHS and for all the arguments about the scale of the economic turbulence, the clear consensus is that effects of Brexit would be significant and negative. Far from a leave dividend there would be economic penalty and the NHS would suffer the consequences. The chilling effect would also fall on the workforce. If you meet a migrant in the NHS, they are more likely to be treating you than ahead of you in the queue and very many of our core health and social care workforce come from the EU. How does it feel for them? I know how intensely painful many of my EU constituents have found the tone of the debate.

It should be noted that it was the economic effect on the NHS that convinced Dr Wollaston MP, rather than a campaign slogan, as has been misrepresented.

This change of position caused a conspiratorial convulsion among Leave campaigners. Stewart Jackson MP (Conservative, Peterborough) re-posted the claim that Dr Wollaston MP was a “long standing Remain plant”. Nadine Dorries MP (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire) suggested that Number 10 had “staged” the announcement.

As Michael Deacon writes in a sketch for the Telegraph, the idea that Dr Wollaston MP — a fairly critical MP of the Prime Minister and the government — would act as a Cameronian stooge is laughable [3].


Yes, it all makes sense. (Source: Telegraph)

Changing minds

It may come as a surprise: people can change their mind. If they could not, then this referendum would be pointless. According to the Ipsos MORI Political Monitor in May 2016 [3], 25% of respondents think there is “a chance” they may change their mind before the vote.


Yes, they can.

It is disappointing to see fellow Conservatives jump to a conspiracy, rather than accept their parliamentary colleagues can honestly change ther mind.


[1] BBC, 2016. EU referendum: MP Sarah Wollaston swaps sides over ‘untrue’ Leave claims. Available from: [Accessed: 12th June 2016]

[2] Wollaston, S., 2016. Leave’s health claims are shameful. Times. Available from: [Accessed: 12th June 2016]

[3] Deacon, M., 2016. How the Sarah Wollaston conspiracy theory proves David Cameron is a political genius. Telegraph. Available from: [Accessed: 12th June 2016]

[4] Masters, A., 2016. Ipsos MORI Political Monitor, May 2016. In Defence of Liberty. Available from: [Accessed: 12th June 2016]



This entry was posted on June 21, 2016 by in European Politics and tagged , , , .
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