Three Tory MPs have resigned from the party to join an independent group, set up by former Labour MPs, who quit earlier this week.
Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen wrote a joint letter to Theresa May to confirm their departure.
The PM said she was “saddened”, but her party would “always offer… decent, moderate and patriotic politics”.
“You don’t leave a political party that you’ve called ‘home’ for many years, without a great deal of thought and a considerable amount of heartache”. said Independent MP Anna Soubry
The three MP’s criticised the government’s “disastrous handling” of Brexit and said it had undone “all the efforts to modernise” the Conservatives.
The pro-Remain trio will join the new Independent Group – made up of eight Labour MPs who resigned from their party over its handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism – saying it represented “the centre-ground of British politics”.
Allen said that after quitting the Tories, she says she feels “so excited in a way that I haven’t felt since I was first elected” and has a “sense of liberation”.
The departure of the three MPs has reduced the government’s working majority to nine MPs, and Ms Allen claimed there were “absolutely” other colleagues “keen” to join the group.
The Independent Group now has more MPs in Parliament than the Democratic Unionist Party and equals the number of Liberal Democrats.