Three prominent Tory lawmakers of the British parliament have joined eight opposition Labour party defectors to form an independent group amid deepening political stalemate over UK withdrawal from the European Union.
Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston issued a statement on Wednesday to announce their resignation from the ruling Conservative Party, saying they were mainly dissatisfied with the way Prime Minister Theresa May has been handing Brexit.
The three said the government had been taken hostage by a eurosceptic group of Tory lawmakers, known as the ERG, while criticizing the growing influence of Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on May’s decisions about Brexit.
“The final straw for us has been this government’s disastrous handling of Brexit,” they said in their statement, adding, “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.”
The resignation come two days after seven Labour Party lawmakers made a similar decision to defect from the party over its Brexit policy and what they called an inclination in its leadership toward anti-Semitism. An eight Labour lawmaker joined the group late on Tuesday on the same the grounds.
With more than a month until Britain is officially expected to leave the EU, Brexit has triggered a widespread chaos in the UK politics. The two mainstream parties have found it largely difficult to unite behind a single strategy on the issue. That was clearly manifested in a vote on government’s Brexit deal last month in the House of Commons where the document was defeated by a majority of 230 votes.
The Tory and Labour defectors have announced they will form an independent group in the parliament. Experts believe more lawmakers from the two parties as well as from other factions could join the group, a move which could seriously threaten a decades-old two-party system in Britain.
May said on Wednesday she was disappointed by the resignation of the three Conservative lawmakers but insisted she would go on with her plans to deliver on Brexit on March 29.