Three Tory MPs and One More for Labour Join ‘Independent Group’

Three Tory MPs defect to fledgling Independent Group

Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen quit Conservatives, citing Brexit and lurch to the right

Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen
Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen quit the Tory party on Wednesday morning. Photograph: Handout

In a letter to the prime minister, the three MPs wrote: “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.

“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 hardline ERG, which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy.”

Wollaston, Soubry and Allen said government’s handling of Brexit had been “disastrous” and said no genuine effort had been made to build consensus.

“Instead of seeking to heal the divisions or to tackle the underlying causes of Brexit, the priority was to draw up ‘red lines’,” they said. “The 48% were not only sidelined, they were alienated.

“The country deserves better. We believe there is a failure of politics in general, not just in the Conservative party but in both main parties as they move to the fringes, leaving millions of people with no representation. Our politics needs urgent and radical reform and we are determined to play our part.”

The group said they intended to sit as independents, like the eight MPs who have also quit the Labour. “There will be times when we will support the government, for example, on measures to strengthen our economy, security and improve our public services,” the three MPs said. “We will continue to work constructively, locally and nationally, on behalf of our constituents.”

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