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UK's New 'Independent Group' Joined By 3 Conservative Lawmakers

UK's New 'Independent Group' Joined By 3 Conservative Lawmakers

The Dudley North MP said leaving Labour was the "hardest decision" he had ever had to make and pointed to the plague of racism engulfing the party as the primary reason for quitting.

Former Conservative Party and now an Independent MP Sarah Wollaston (R) speaks at a press conference with her colleagues Anna Soubry (L) and Heidi Allen (C) in central London.

The three criticised the government's "disastrous handling" of Brexit and said it had undone "all the efforts to modernise" the Conservatives.

In announcing her resignation, Soubry said, "The right-wing, hardline, anti-EU squad are now running the Conservative Party, from top to tail".

They accuse Labour's leadership, under Jeremy Corbyn, of pursuing a weak policy toward Brexit and failing to address institutional anti-Semitism.

Austin mentioned attacks on former Labour MP Luciana Berger, who this week quit the opposition party to join the newly set up Independent Group founded on Monday.

The leaders of the ERG, who have failed to topple May, say they would rather see a "no-deal Brexit" than preserve the relative compromise and closer ties that May seeks on rules and regulations. A government defeat by eurosceptics on a symbolic vote last week showed their muscle, while the departure of some pro-EU lawmakers also undermines her position. But he added that the focus "has to remain on delivering Brexit" and the Conservative party was "a broad church and will remain so".

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Soubry said this "purple movement" - blending the colours of "two broken parties", red Labour and blue Conservative - would likely attract more converts and may someday become its own political party rather than a voting bloc.

"I don't think I would be able to stay part of a party that was simply a Brexit party that had crashed us out of the European Union", said Greening, who said she had considered joining fellow Tory MPs Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston in quitting the party but had made a decision to stay for the moment. "Of course, the UK's membership of the European Union has been a source of disagreement both in our party and our country for a long time", May said.

Trying to unite her party around her Brexit plan has been a hard balancing act for the prime minister.

Mrs May said she was saddened by the decision, but said the Government was "doing the right thing for our country" by implementing voters' decision to leave the EU.

The new group is not yet a party, but the group of rebels sat on the independent benches of the House of Commons on Wednesday.

How this changes the dynamics of upcoming votes on Brexit is unclear.

They wrote: "We find it unconscionable that a party, once trusted on the economy, more than any other, is now recklessly marching the country to the cliff edge of no deal".