Under-pressure UK PM Boris Johnson has today lost his parliamentary majority after Conservative MP Phillip Lee defected to the pro-EU Liberal Democrats.
It comes at a critical time for the ruling Tories, who could face an emergency motion to take a no-deal Brexit off the table on Wednesday.
Lee said that after a great deal of thought he had decided to leave the Conservatives amid concern over its direction since the Brexit vote.
“Sadly, the Brexit process has helped to transform this once great Party into something more akin to a narrow faction, where an individual’s ‘conservatism’ is measured by how recklessly one wishes to leave the European Union,” Dr Lee wrote.
“Perhaps, most disappointingly, it has increasingly become infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism.”
Four years ago, Johnson’s Conservative Party had a working majority of 12 seats. After the Brexit referendum, new PM Theresa May went back to the country. Her party remained the biggest in parliament but lost its majority and had to form a government by going into a supply and confidence agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party. But that majority has been chipped away at by defections and lost by-elections.