Who is Dr Lisa Cameron and why has SNP MP defected to the Conservatives?

The MP announced her dramatic decision on Thursday morning
Lisa Cameron Photo: Stefan RousseauLisa Cameron Photo: Stefan Rousseau
Lisa Cameron Photo: Stefan Rousseau

SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron has quit the SNP and joined the Scottish Conservatives in a dramatic and unprecedented defection.

The East Kilbride MP’s change of party comes on the day she was facing a selection battle to be the candidate in the west of Scotland seat of East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, and amid simmering tensions in the SNP’s Westminster group.

Who is Lisa Cameron?

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Glasgow-born Dr Cameron, 51, is a consultant clinical psychologist. She has been the MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow since winning the seat at the 2015 general election and was re-elected in 2017 and 2019.

She obtained a BSc in Psychology from the University of Strathclyde, an MSc in Psychology and Health from the University of Stirling and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Glasgow. Before entering politics.

What is behind her dramatic defection?

Dr Cameron was facing a selection battle to fight her seat at the next General Election. The successful candidates are due to be announced later on Thursday, with Dr Cameron’s defection pre-empting this. Several high-profile figures had instead backed a party worker to contest the seat.

Dr Cameron complained she felt “ostracised” by her party after she challenged how the leadership handled sexual harassment allegations against Patrick Grady.

She said she spoke out after former Westminster leader Ian Blackford said in a group meeting MPs should offer their “absolute full support” to Mr Grady – according to a leaked recording of the event – who was suspended from the SNP for six months over sexual harassment allegations.

Mr Grady was accused of inappropriately touching a party staff member in 2016.

Mr Grady had his SNP membership restored in December 2022 but Dr Cameron claims she questioned why the experience of the victim was not being prioritised.

In her previous NHS job, she said she often worked with victims, prompting her to argue the case during a party meeting in Westminster.

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Doing so, she claims, meant people within the party “were quite hostile” towards her and would not speak to her.

What has she said today?

Dr Cameron told the Scottish Daily Mail: “I do not feel able to continue in what I have experienced as a toxic and bullying SNP Westminster group, which resulted in my requiring counselling for a period of 12 months in Parliament and caused significant deterioration in my health and wellbeing as assessed by my GP including the need for antidepressants.

“I will never regret my actions in standing up for a victim of abuse at the hands of an SNP MP last year, but I have no faith remaining in a party whose leadership supported the perpetrator’s interests over that of the victims and who have shown little to no interest in acknowledging or addressing the impact.

“It is also true that I have received no contact from party leadership in the past weeks, despite members of every other main political party contacting me to offer support and compassion during what has been an extremely difficult time.”

She praised the Prime Minister’s “positive” leadership, saying it contrasted to that of the SNP group.

Conservative MP John Lamont posted a “warm welcome” to his new colleague on Twitter, with Tory MSP Murdo Fraser saying: “As the SNP continues to implode, this is another signal that ⁦@ScotTories are making gains at their expense.”

What has the SNP said?

A spokesperson said after the news was announced: “The people of East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow will be appalled they are now represented a Conservative and Unionist MP.

“Lisa Cameron should now do the right thing and step down to allow a by-election.

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“Her constituents elected an SNP MP, not a Tory, and they deserve to have the democratic opportunity to elect a hard-working SNP MP who will put the interests of Scotland first.

“On a personal basis, we wish her well.”



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