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Tory rebel Antoinette Sandbach joins Liberal Democrats ahead of general election

Antoinette Sandbach has joined the Liberal Democrats. Credit: PA

A former Conservative MP has joined the Liberal Democrats, boosting Jo Swinson's party ahead of the General Election.

Antoinette Sandbach was one of 21 Tories who had the party whip removed after rebelling against the Government in a September Commons vote intended to block a no-deal Brexit.

She will contest her Cheshire seat of Eddisbury as the Lib Dem candidate, the party said.

Ms Sandbach, the eighth addition to the Lib Dem parliamentary party in the last few months, said the upcoming General Election will be "the most important in my lifetime".

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Her defection means the Lib Dems will have at least 20 MPs by the time Parliament is dissolved next week.

She said: "People have a very clear choice, the Conservative Party offers years of uncertainty whilst the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit.

"I'm so proud to stand alongside other Liberal Democrat candidates across the country to fight for a brighter future with Jo Swinson, our candidate to be Prime Minister.

"I will stand on my strong local record, helping to secure local investment, fighting for fair funding for our schools and to secure additional funding in local health services."

She added: "Our country deserves so much better than Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

"I can't wait to get to work, win this election and then deliver for my constituents and our country."

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson welcomed Ms Sandbach into the Lib Dems. Credit: PA

Lib Dem leader Ms Swinson said: "I am delighted to welcome Antoinette to the Liberal Democrats.

"She is a passionate campaigner and will be a fantastic candidate at the General Election and a great addition to our party."

She added: "Her defection clearly shows that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and attracting support from right across the political spectrum.

"Antoinette is one of the millions of people who are tired of the two old parties, led by people who will take our country backwards, not forwards.

"It is only the Liberal Democrats that will stop Brexit and build the brighter future that our country deserves."