Tory MP Phillip Lee defects to Lib Dems meaning Boris Johnson no longer has working majority
Phillip Lee has dramatically defected to the Liberal Democrats – depriving Boris Johnson of his Commons majority.
The pro-EU former minister walked across the Commons chamber, to sit with Jo Swinson’s party, meaning the prime minister now leads a minority government – the first since 1996.
“The party I joined in 1992 is not the party I am leaving today,” said Philip Lee, a supporter of Remain and a second referendum on Brexit.
It came ahead of a crucial vote tonight in which rebel MPs will try to take control of the Parliamentary agenda and block a no-deal.
After a great deal of thought, I have reached the conclusion that it is no longer possible to serve my constituents’ and country’s best interests as a Conservative Member of Parliament. My letter to the Prime Minister: pic.twitter.com/0QreSbSdwR
— Dr Phillip Lee MP (@DrPhillipLeeMP) September 3, 2019
Moments after he crossed the floor, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson tweeted: “Welcome @DrPhillipLeeMP – you have joined us at the most crucial time. I look forward to working with you to prevent a disastrous Brexit, and to fight for a fairer, more equal society.”
Earlier today, Justine Greening said she would not stand for the Tory party at the next election, taking a swipe at Mr Johnson and accusing the Tory party of “turning into the Brexit party.”
Mr Johnson has said he will call a snap election if he is defeated by the alliance of cross-party MPs.