Published: Thu, September 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Tory MP defects over Brexit, Johnson now leading minority government

Tory MP defects over Brexit, Johnson now leading minority government

"The Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that Bracknell MP Phillip Lee has joined the party", the party said in a statement.

Senior Conservatives lined up to attack Boris Johnson's decision to expel more than 20 Tory MPs from the party, including two former chancellors and Winston Churchill's grandson.

In doing so she contributed to a parliamentary majority of 328 votes to 301, forcing through a bill that requires the prime minister to request an extension on Brexit talks to 31 January 2020.

While the Commons vote was treated as an effective confidence motion, the proceedings on the timetable for the Bill if it reaches the Lords will not - although Tories will be "expected to support the government" in opposing it.

And while Mr Johnson's natural optimism contrasts with the approach followed by his predecessor Theresa May, his abrasiveness points to a leader intent on putting the electoral threat posed by the Brexit Party before his primary duty - the over-riding national economic interest.

The point is that the rebels and opposition parties are salivating at the notion that Johnson could be humiliated by being forced under the terms of the legislation to ask European Union leaders on 17 October to move Brexit day from 31 October to 31 January.

Lee took his seat on the opposition benches as Johnson addressed the House of Commons, which caused a huge stir.

Mr Johnson said the MPs' bill would "hand control" of Brexit negotiations to the European Union and bring "more dither, more delay, more confusion".

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Johnson could also seek a snap general election next month if he does not get his way - which would be the U.K.'s third general vote in three years.

'The rolling out of the red carpet for Phillip Lee has shown me the party lacks even the most basic values it espouses in its constitution.

One of them, Philip Lee, defected to the Liberal Democrats, while the other 21 backed the opposition.

In his resignation letter to Mr Johnson, Dr Lee said his Government had become "infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism".

But party leader Jo Swinson had a bit more time for the newly defected MP, she tweeted today saying: 'Welcome @DrPhillipLeeMP- you have joined us at the most crucial time.

The MP, who had been a member of the party for more than 27 years, said: "Those are not my values".

It means the prime minister is now in charge of a minority government. The public do not want an election.

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