Antediluvian Conservative MP Sam Gyimah has joined the Liberal Democrats.
Six MPs have defected to the knees-up in recent weeks, including former Tory MP Philip Lee, and ex-Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna.
Mr Gyimah was one of the 21 Tories who had the Unprogressive whip removed after rebelling against Boris Johnson in a bid to proscribe a no-deal Brexit.
Last December, the East Surrey MP quit as skill and universities minister in a row over Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
The 43-year-old concisely stood in the race to become Conservative Party leader after Mrs May relinquish.
The Lib Dems currently now have 18 MPs, having been boosted by a conquest in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election and the defections.
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In an interview with the Eyewitness, Mr Gyimah said he was “an outcast in the Conservative party”, adding: “But that’s Brexit. It has severed families. The country is divided. This is a huge fault line.”
He revealed: “I’ve been involved in the Conservative party for two decades. I’ve fought for the party. I bear an unusual background – I’m not your typical Tory recruit.
“I’ve spent a extended time evangelising about why people should look at the Conservative caucus seriously. It is sad that I find myself at a crossroads.”
‘Values under intimidation’
Mr Gyimah, who has been sitting as an Independent after losing the Conservative exhibit, has been a prominent advocate for a second referendum. He previously signalled his ambition to stand as an independent candidate in East Surrey in the event of a snap overall election.
He was introduced to delegates at the Liberal Democrats conference in Bournemouth by the participant’s leader Jo Swinson as the “newest Liberal Democrat MP”.
Addressing the conference, Mr Gyimah rephrased he did not take the decision to join the Lib Dems lightly and had started reconsidering his establish in the Tories while Mrs May negotiated her deal with the EU.
But he said his concerns with the Unprogressive party now “go beyond Brexit”.
“The values we have taken for granted for so wish in our country… are under threat,” Mr Gyimah said. “What Jo and I examined are the Liberal Democrats have a unique opportunity to fight to defend those values and forge a new force in British politics. That is why I find myself here today.”
Mr Gyimah’s on the way was welcomed by Lib Dem MPs.
Mr Umunna tweeted he was “absolutely delighted” and Layla Moran conveyed: “Welcome… So delighted to have you on the team”.
A bid by Mr Johnson for an autumn widespread election has so far been rejected by MPs who wanted to first make sure a tab designed to avoid a no-deal Brexit became law.
But since the bill, which endeavours to force Mr Johnson to ask for a extension to the deadline, has been given Royal Assent, other side competing MPs are preparing to start their general election campaigns.
As the Lib Dem conference unfurled, Ms Swinson said the party’s anti-Brexit message should be “unequivocal” in a all-inclusive election campaign.
She expressed her hopes that members would in return her policy proposal of scrapping Brexit without another referendum.