Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry have just announced they have left the Conservative Party and have now joined thenewly formed Independent Group.
In a message to the prime minister, Theresa May the three defectors said to May, “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 DUP,” the three MPs have written in a letter to Theresa May.
“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.”
It is with a heavy heart I have today resigned from the Conservative Party. pic.twitter.com/q0j7m5ylUX
— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) February 20, 2019
However, the Soubry, Allen and Wollaston also said they will still support the government at times.
They said, “We intend to sit as independents alongside the Independent Group of MPs in the centre ground of British politics.
“There will be times when we will support the Government, for example, on measures to strengthen our economy, security and improve our public services.
“But we now feel honour bound to put our constituents’ and country’s interests first…
“We will continue to work constructively, locally and nationally, on behalf of our constituents.”
Just hours ago, Ken Clarke the long-standing Conservative MP warned there could be defections from the party to the Independent Group.
Clarke said to the BBC on Wednesday morning, “Certainly some members of parliament are getting very fed up.
“There are some, I think, not including me who probably are contemplating leaving if the party moves too far to the right and no longer represents what they regard as the mainstream Conservative views they have held for all the previous years.
“I hope that doesn’t happen. I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
The prime minister, Theresa May said in a statment, “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.”
The newly formed Independent Group said on Twitter, Welcome to the Independent Group @heidiallen75 @Anna_Soubry and @sarahwollaston Both our parties are broken. We are going to #ChangePolitics for the better.”
— The Independent Group (@TheIndGroup) February 20, 2019