Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve and former Education Secretary Justine Greening have both said that they would leave the Conservative party if there was a no-deal Brexit.
This comes after three Tories joined eight former Labour MPs in a breakaway group in Parliament, who claimed that a third of the majority party could be willing to join them.
Greening said she would stay in the party “for the moment”. Asked if she would join the Independent Group, she said: “It is something that I’ve considered, but I’ve reached a different conclusion for the moment. I want to challenge my own party. I think we can step up to the plate. I know that many activists and members of parliament feel exactly as I do on social mobility.”
She said she would work to prevent a hard Brexit by voting against it in parliament.
“If I’m not successful then to my mind the party that I joined many years ago and that I felt matched my aspirations and the aspirations of many people in Britain on opportunity, I would question if that is the Conservative party today.
“If we simply become the Brexit party, then I do not believe we have a successful future ahead of us …. I don’t think I would be able to stay part of a party that was a Brexit party that had crashed us out of the European Union.”
Grieve spoke on Wednesday night pondered what he could do if his party were to implement a no-deal Brexit.
“The government which I am supporting implementing a no-deal Brexit – what would I do? I would not be able to maintain my support of the government. I would have to leave the party.”
Chencellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said that he was saddened by the departure of the three MPs who joined The Independent Group earlier in the week.
“The Conservative party is and always has been and must remain a very broad church. I understand their concerns but I hope that over time they will feel able to rejoin the party and help to maintain it and that broad church, that coalition of views, that has been so successful over so many decades.”
He denied that the party had been take over by the hardline Eurosceptics. the European Research Group (the ERG). “The ERG is a relatively small hardcore within the parliamentary party, and a wider group of members of parliament who are sympathetic to some of the objectives of the ERG recognise that, within this broad church that is the Conservative party, compromises are necessary,” said Hammond.