Three Conservative MPs have announced they are leaving the party to join the new Independent Group.
MPs Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston joined the breakaway group on Wednesday morning, less than an hour before Prime Minister’s Questions.
The Independent Group was formed on Monday by seven former Labour MPs, before being joined by MP Joan Ryan on Tuesday night.
In a letter to Theresa May the three MPs said that they could not remain with the Conservative Party when its “policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP”.
They added: “Brexit has re-defined the Conservative Party - undoing all the efforts to modernise it. There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hard line ERG which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy.
“We haven’t changed, the Conservative Party has and it no longer reflects the values and beliefs we share with the millions of people throughout the United Kingdom.
“The final straw for us has been this government’s disastrous handling of Brexit.”
'Decent, moderate and patriotic'
The Prime Minister responded to the letter saying she was "saddened" by their decision but thanked them for their "service" to the party.
She added: "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."
She ended the statement saying that under her leadership the party will "always offer the decent, moderate and patriotic politics that the people of this country deserve".