Three Conservative MPs have quit the party to join the newly formed Independent Group.
Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry announced their resignation from the Tories this morning ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions.
All three oppose Brexit and have been pushing for a second referendum on EU membership.
'We can no longer act as bystanders. We are honour bound to put our constituents’ and country’s interests first.' Read the letter to the Prime Minister from @heidiallen75 @Anna_Soubry and @sarahwollaston #ChangePolitics pic.twitter.com/1HxHOULbft
— The Independent Group (@TheIndGroup) February 20, 2019
Writing to the Prime Minister to inform her of their decision, they said: “We no longer feel we can remain in the Party of a Government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DLJP.
“Brexit has re-defined the Conservative Party — undoing all the efforts to modernise it.
“There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hard line ERG which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy.”
Former Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie announced their resignation from the party and the formation of the Independent Group on Monday.
They were joined on Tuesday evening by Joan Ryan.
Reacting to the resignations, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I am saddened by this decision — these are people who have given dedicated service to our party over many years, and I thank them for it.
“Of course, the UK’s membership of the EU has been a source of disagreement both in our party and our country for a long time. Ending that membership after four decades was never going to be easy.
“But by delivering on our manifesto commitment and implementing the decision of the British people we are doing the right thing for our country. And in doing so, we can move forward together towards a brighter future.”
“I am determined that under my leadership the Conservative Party will always offer the decent, moderate and patriotic politics that the people of this country deserve.”