Tory MP defects over Brexit, Johnson now leading minority government

“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" - MP Phillip Lee

Johnson now leads the first minority government since 1996
Johnson now leads the first minority government since 1996

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lost his majority in the House of Commons after one of his MPs defected to another party, citing Johnson’s “aggressive” and “unprincipled” approach to Brexit.

Rebel Tory MP Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats, depriving Boris Johnson of his majority in the House of Commons. The former minister who holds pro-EU views, crossed 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” Phillip Lee, MP

“The party I joined in 1992 is not the party I am leaving today,” said Lee, who advocated a Final Say referendum on Brexit. “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,” he said.

Lee is the third MP to defect to the Liberal Democrats in recent months with former Labour MP Chuka Umunna and former Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston both switching to the party.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the House of Commons that today lawmakers have "a last chance to stop this Government from riding roughshod over constitutional and democratic rights in this country, so that a cabal in Downing Street can crash us out without a deal, without any democratic mandate and against the majority of public opinion."

He added that Johnson "isn't winning friends in Europe" and that "he's losing friends at home."

"His is a Government with no mandate, no morals and, as of today, no majority," Corbyn said.

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