The Conservatives have lost their working majority in the House of Commons after former minister Dr Phillip Lee defected from the party and joined the Liberal Democrats.
The MP for Bracknell took his seat on the opposition benches on Tuesday as the Prime Minister addressed MPs for the first time since before the summer recess.
The defection means the government has lost its working majority – the Conservatives, with their agreement with the DUP now have 319 seats in the House of Commons, whereas opposition parties have 320 seats. This will make it increasingly difficult for the Government to pass laws in the future, perhaps increasing further the chance of a general election.
In a statement, Dr Lee 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 UK.
“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.”
Dr Lee also said he expected more defections from the Conservative party in the near future.
The defection came ahead of a showdown in Parliament on Tuesday which is widely expected could see opposition MPs take control of the Parliament’s order paper or timetable in order to vote on legislation aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit.