Suffolk Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter has accused his neighbour - and Deputy Prime Minister - Dr Therese Coffey of putting lives at risk after she threatened health education measures.

Dr Coffey became Health and Social Care Secretary in the reshuffle after Liz Truss became Prime Minister last month - as well as becoming her deputy.

But in a column in The Guardian, Dr Poulter, whose Central Suffolk and North Ipswich constituency is next to Dr Coffey's Suffolk Coastal seat, warned that her opposition to health campaigns could be dangerous.

Dr Poulter, who also works as an NHS doctor in London, pointed out that during her parliamentary career Dr Coffey had opposed bans on smoking in public places, particularly a ban on smoking in cars with children inside.

He said she had also opposed anti-obesity campaigns which had targeted people whose lifestyle threatened their health and risked large financial commitments for the NHS.

Dr Poulter said: "It is the duty of every government – for ethical and practical reasons – to take action against smoking, obesity and other key causes of early mortality and morbidity.

"I am acutely concerned that Coffey’s ideological hostility to what history shows is government’s potentially very positive role in protecting us against these grave threats to our health will exacerbate the problems they already pose.

"At its worst, such a radically different approach to public health could cost lives, as it will inevitably lead to more people smoking and becoming dangerously overweight."

Dr Poulter accused the Deputy PM of putting political dogma before people's health: "Coffey is in danger of being a health secretary who appears opposed to the need for bold government action to tackle the great scourges of our health, notably smoking, unhealthy food and excess drinking.

"She prefers to prioritise her own ultra-libertarian ideological worldview – hostility to what some like to call 'nanny statism' – above evidence-based policies to improve public health and save lives that are backed by most respected UK and international health bodies."

Dr Coffey's office has been contacted for a comment about her neighbour's comments on her health policy.