1. ITV Report

MP Anna Soubry quits Conservative party to join the new Independent Group

MP Anna Soubry has quit the Conservative Party to join the new Independent Group. Credit: PA Images

Three MPs - including Anna Soubry - have quit the Conservative Party to join the new Independent Group (TIG) in a major blow to Theresa May's authority.

The Broxtowe MP, along with Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston, hit out at the Prime Minister's "disastrous" handling of Brexit as they quit.

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The three - who will join the eight ex-Labour MPs who have formed TIG - said: "The final straw for us has been this Government's disastrous handling of Brexit.

"Following the EU referendum of 2016, no genuine effort was made to build a cross party, let alone a national consensus to deliver Brexit.

"Instead of seeking to heal the divisions or to tackle the underlying causes of Brexit, the priority was to draw up 'red lines'. The 48% were not only sidelined, they were alienated."

They added: "Our politics needs urgent and radical reform and we are determined to play our part."

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On joining The Independent Group, they added: "We intend to sit as independents alongside the Independent Group of MPs in the centre ground of British politics.

"There will be times when we will support the Government, for example, on measures to strengthen our economy, security and improve our public services.

"But we now feel honour bound to put our constituents' and country's interests first.

"We will continue to work constructively, locally and nationally, on behalf of our constituents."

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Former education secretary and Conservative MP Nicky Morgan said she was "very sorry" to see her "principled and fearless friend" Ms Soubry resign.

I am saddened by this decision - these are people who have given dedicated service to our party over many years, and I thank them for it.

Of course, the UK's membership of the EU has been a source of disagreement both in our party and our country for a long time. Ending that membership after four decades was never going to be easy.

But by delivering on our manifesto commitment and implementing the decision of the British people we are doing the right thing for our country.

And in doing so, we can move forward together towards a brighter future.

I am determined that under my leadership the Conservative Party will always offer the decent, moderate and patriotic politics that the people of this country deserve.

– Prime Minister Theresa May