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3 UK Conservative lawmakers defect to new independent group

Posted at 6:18 AM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 06:18:40-05

LONDON (AP) — Three pro-European lawmakers have quit Britain's governing Conservatives to join a newly formed centrist group of independent legislators opposed to the government's conduct of Brexit.

Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston announced Wednesday they will join eight ex-Labour Party lawmakers in the new group.

The Labour rebels have quit the party over its direction under left-wing party leader Jeremy Corbyn. They accuse him of mounting a weak opposition to Prime Minister Theresa May's plans for leaving the European Union and of failing to stamp out anti-Semitism in the party.

The breakaway lawmakers hope to gain members from among disgruntled pro-Europeans in both the Labour and Conservative parties, with a view to forging a new force in the center of British politics.