MP and GP Dr Phillip Lee has defected to the Liberal Democrats from the Conservatives, leaving the Government without a working majority.
Dr Lee, who represents Bracknell, swapped sides in the Commons during a live debate yesterday while Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed MPs over mounting tensions surrounding Brexit.
This means the Prime Minister now leads a minority Government – the first since 1997.
In a letter addressed to Boris Johnson, Dr Lee, who joined the party over 27 years ago, referenced his ‘concerns over the approach and direction of the Conservative Party since the EU Referendum took place in 2016’.
He also blamed how the Brexit process has ‘increasingly become infected’ with the ‘twin diseases of populism and English nationalism’.
After a great deal of thought, I have reached the conclusion that it is no longer possible to serve my constituents’ and country’s best interests as a Conservative Member of Parliament. My letter to the Prime Minister: pic.twitter.com/0QreSbSdwR
— Dr Phillip Lee MP (@DrPhillipLeeMP) September 3, 2019
Dr Lee also deemed the Lib Dems ‘best placed to build the unifying and inspiring political force needed to heal our divisions, unleash our talents, equip us to take the opportunities and overcome the challenges that we face as a society’.
This is not the first time Dr Lee has resigned from political membership over Brexit, having announced last summer that he would no longer serve as justice minister, a position he occupied for just shy of two years, in order to ‘better speak up for’ his constituents and country over the delivery of Brexit.
Dr Lee still locums as a GP in the Slough area. He told PoliticsHome earlier this year that continuing to practice medicine keeps him ‘real’, and that when elected as an MP in 2010, he had completed over a decade in the profession.