Three MPs quit the governing Conservative Party over Brexit yesterday, joining a mounting rebellion in parliament this week against the two major parties that is shaking the system in British politics.
Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston said they planned to sit in parliament alongside eight former Labour MPs who, also citing their opposition to Brexit, have resigned from the main opposition party since Monday to form the new Independent Group.
The trio of Conservatives, who support Britain remaining in the European Union, said in a joint resignation letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that Brexit had "re-defined" their party and was "undoing all the efforts to modernise it".
"The final straw for us has been this government's disastrous handling of Brexit," they added, in stinging criticism of May's leadership, noting they could "no longer act as bystanders" to her EU exit strategy.
"Following the EU referendum of 2016, no genuine effort was made to build a cross-party, let alone a national consensus to deliver Brexit."
The resignations posed a fresh and embarrassing headache for the prime minister as she prepared to travel to Brussels later yesterday for crucial talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
It also reinforced the view that Britain was plunging further into political turmoil as its MPs struggle to agree a divorce deal just five weeks before it is due to leave the bloc on March 29.
The political impasse risks the country crashing out without an agreement, with the rising uncertainty blamed for a string of car-makers and other businesses recently announcing job cuts and reduced investment in Britain.
May said she was "saddened" by the resignations and thanked the MPs for their "dedicated service to our party over many years".
She noted Britain's membership of the EU has been "a source of disagreement both in our party and our country for a long time" but the MPs' move would not stop her delivering on the referendum result.