MP defects, UK PM loses House majority

London, September 3

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday lost his already wafer-thin working majority of one in Parliament as one of the Conservative Party MPs defected to the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat party over an ongoing showdown over his strategy for the country's impending EU exit.

Philip Lee defected just minutes before Johnson took to the despatch box at the House of Commons for his first parliamentary confrontation with MPs after a long summer recess. The MP for Bracknell conspicuously took his seat on the Opposition benches as Johnson began addressing the Commons.

He said the government was "pursuing a damaging Brexit in unprincipled ways", putting lives and livelihoods at risk. 

Johnson told MPs he wanted a negotiated exit from the EU and insisted there was "real momentum" behind the talks. But he warned that plans by rebel Tory MPs to pass legislation blocking a no-deal exit would "destroy negotiation chance for a new deal".

If rebel MPs from his own Tory party and Opposition benches succeed in seeing the motion through, it would force Johnson's hand on seeking an extension to the Brexit deadline from the EU at least until January 31, 2020, in the event that no withdrawal agreement is agreed between both sides by October. — PTI