Three Conservative MPs have quit the party and joined the Independent Group, bringing their number to eleven.
Anna Soubry (Broxtowe), Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire) and Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) announced their plans to quit the party around 11am this morning and joined the other seven former Labour members on the opposition benches before Prime Minister’s Question Time.
All three have been critics of the Government’s current stance on Brexit. In a joint letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May, they said that the Conservatives’ handling of the Brexit process had undermined efforts to modernise the party.
They added: “We find it unconscionable that a party, once trusted on the economy, more than any other, is now recklessly marching the country to the cliff edge of no deal.”
The defection leaves the Conservative Government with a working majority of only two, with the support of 324 MPs (including ten from the DUP).
The Independent Group is now the joint fourth largest grouping in the House of Commons, alongside the Liberal Democrats.
Theresa May said she was saddened by the news, but said that the Conservative Party would continue to “offer… decent, moderate and patriotic politics”.
The news comes just a day after an eighth Labour MP, Joan Ryan (Enfield North), quit the party and joined the Independent Group.