London: Boris Johnson on Tuesday lost his Commons majority in the house after rebel Tory MP Phillip Lee has dramatically defected to the Liberal Democrats.
The pro-EU former justice minister walked across the Commons chamber, to sit with Jo Swinson’s party, meaning the prime minister now leads a minority government– the first since 1996, reported the Independent.
“The party I joined in 1992 is not the party I am leaving today,” said Dr Lee, a supporter of a Final Say referendum on Brexit, he was quoted to have said.
“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.”
Under Johnson, the Conservative party had become “infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism”, Dr Lee said, in his resignation letter.
The defection is the third to the resurgent Lib Dems in recent months, after Chuka Umunna, a former Labour MP, and Sarah Wollaston, an ex-Conservative, joined the ranks.