Three Tory MPs quit party to join Independent Group over Brexit

May's Conservative government opposes that idea, and Labour under Corbyn has been lukewarm about it.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, gives a speech at the EEF National Manufacturing conference, in London, Britain, February 19, 2019.

"I do begin to think that maybe what we saw yesterday was a beginning of a fragmentation of our establishment parties", he said.

The rebels cited Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's tepid opposition to Brexit and the spread of anti-Semitism within the party for leaving it.

Three Conservative MPs quit the party on Wednesday, accusing United Kingdom ministers of letting the "hard-line anti-EU awkward squad" take over the party.

May said she was carrying through with the decision of the British people, leading them toward "a brighter future".

Another former Labour lawmaker joined their ranks late on Tuesday, and several politicians from both the main opposition party and Conservatives said they expected more to follow from both sides of parliament.

"I've underlined the need for us to see legally binding changes to the backstop that ensure that it can not be indefinite", she said, referring to a mechanism to avoid building a physical boundary between Ireland and Northern Ireland that some Conservatives fear would leave Britain bound to the European Union.

She said there were a "number of ways" that are being discussed to make the changes to the Brexit deal, with talks due to continue ahead of another vote in Parliament later this month. However, several lawmakers have reportedly urged the party to do more.


"Certainly I think that a third of the Cabinet, I'm pretty clear, would walk if they were looking at a no-deal Brexit". It is the first split of its kind since the SDP broke away from Labour in 1981.

The three Tory defectors said that the "hard-line anti-EU awkward squad" had taken over the party, while Labour leavers said they could no longer tolerate anti-semitism and the "machine politics of the hard left" that had taken over the party.

The group of Labour MPs are more traditionally aligned with former Prime Minister Tony Blair's centrist version of the Labour Party that swept to power in 1997. They express horror at the way antisemitism has eaten into the party like gangrene and demand surgical intervention.

The Chancellor told LBC he'd welcome Anna Soubry back into the Conservatives.

The Enfield North MP, who chaired Labour Friends of Israel, said the Labour leader had ignored calls to tackle the problem and was not fit to be prime minister.

The move is a blow to British Prime Minister Theresa May's attempts to unite her party around her Brexit plans.

But May said she and the government would press on and deliver the Brexit that the country voted for in a June 2016 referendum.

I learned two fascinating things about the Labour and Tory refuseniks in The Independent Group from my guests on the Peston show on Wednesday - though quite how much of it made it on to the show I am not sure, because we had a hard stop at the end of a jam-packed episode. "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", she said.


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