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Tory MP Defects: PM Johnson No Longer has Majority in Commons

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Dr Phillip Lee

WESTMINSTER: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson no longer commands a majority in the House of Commons.

As Johnson was addressing the Commons, Conservative MP Dr Phillip Lee took his seat on the opposition benches.

Lee has defected to the Liberal Democrats ahead of a showdown between Boris Johnson and Tory rebels over Brexit, the BBC is reporting.

This action by Lee, the MP for Bracknell, means that Johnson no longer has a working majority in the House of Commons.

The BBC stated that Johnson has vowed to leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, but a number of MPs against no deal have come together across party political lines to try to stop it happening.

They have submitted a motion for an emergency debate to Commons Speaker John Bercow, and if successful, they will bring forward a bill that would force the prime minister to ask for Brexit to be delayed until January 31, unless MPs approve a new deal, or vote in favour of a no-deal exit, by October 19, according to the BBC.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson told MPs he wanted a negotiated exit from the EU and insisted there was “real momentum” behind the talks with Brussels.

In a statement Lee, a medical doctor said:

“After a great deal of thought, I have reached the conclusion that it is not possible to serve my constituents’ and country’s best interests as a Conservative Member of Parliament.

“Over 27 years ago I joined the Conservative & Unionist Party led by Sir John Major. Since 2010 I have had the privilege of representing the Bracknell Constituency. The Party I joined in 1992 is not the Party I am leaving today.

“This Conservative Government is aggressively pursuing a damaging Brexit in unprincipled ways. It is putting lives and livelihoods at risk unnecessarily and it is wantonly endangering the integrity of the United Kingdom.

“More widely, it is undermining our country’s economy, democracy and role in the world. It is using political manipulation, bullying and lies. And it is doing these things in a deliberate and considered way. It has gone so far beyond reckless as to cease to be conservative.

“I am dismayed at what the Conservative Party has become, the role that it has played in feeding division and populism, in squandering a hard-won reputation for sound stewardship, and the blinkered direction in which it has set our country.

“Those are not my values. I will not implicitly condone these things by being party to them.

“Make no mistake: this is a time of reckoning.

“The challenges that our world and country face are real – but not insurmountable. We need to root how we address them in evidence and reality. Critically, we need to recognise that we will not solve climate change, counter-extremism, or address our housing, health and social care needs alone.

“We must work with others.

“The opportunities to leave a better legacy are also significant. As a united country, we need to mobilise all our innovation, creativity, power and talent – not bury it under a Brexit that does not have the British people’s informed consent.

“As a society, we need to rediscover the liberal and democratic traditions that made our country great. We should be guided by the values of justice, liberty and community. We must recognise our responsibilities to our people and planet: we are stewards of our country’s and our world’s limited resources.

“Each generation needs to define democracy for itself and so we each have a part in shaping what we want our politics and our country to stand for. Each of us must stand and be counted.

“That is why today I am joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats.

“I believe the Liberal Democrats are best placed to build the unifying and inspiring political force needed to heal our divisions, unleash our talents, equip us to take the opportunities and overcome the challenges that we face as a society – and leave our country and our world in a better place for the next generations.”

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