LIB Dem chief Jo Swinson is poised to announce two more defections – after revealing ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger as the party’s latest recruit on Thursday.
The Sun understands that ex-Labour backbencher Angela Smith and ex-Tory Heidi Allen will join over the coming week.
Lib Dem chief Jo Swinson is poised to announce two more defections to her party[/caption]
All three were part of the breakaway Change UK party that formed in February but collapsed just months later. Ms Smith could be unveiled as a Lib Dem MP as early as today.
Ms Berger became the second MP to defect to the Lib Dems this week and Ms Swinson boasted she was close to persuading Tory rebels on board too. Ms Berger, who was hounded out by Labour over anti-Semitism slurs, swelled the anti-Brexit party’s number of MPs to 16 and follows ex-Tory MP Phillip Lee who joined earlier this week.
Ms Swinson said she was in “conversations” with the 21 Tory rebels who Boris Johnson kicked out of the party for backing moves to delay Brexit.
Ms Berger said she had joined the Lib Dems to give the party greater numbers to stop Brexit – and revealed Ms Swinson had won her over during WhatsApp chats about babies.
Ms Berger said: “This is a moment of national crisis. The Liberal Democrats are unequivocal in wanting to stop Brexit and are committed to securing Britain’s future as a tolerant, open and inclusive society.
“I am joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats today, in the national interest, to offer a vital, positive alternative to (Boris) Johnson and (Jeremy) Corbyn and help build a future that our country deserves.”
Her decision to join the Lib Dems comes just two days after Phillip Lee dramatically defected from the Tories during a speech by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Commons.
Ms Swinson said: “Luciana is a passionate advocate for women’s and LGBT+ rights, and she’s at the forefront of efforts to counter anti-Semitism and prevent discrimination.
“I’m delighted to welcome her to the Liberal Democrats, where we can work together to stop Brexit and build a fairer, more equal society for all.”
Chuka Umunna, who followed the same route to the Lib Dems as Ms Berger, joined the party in June and in August Sarah Wollaston joined via the Tories and Change UK.
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Ms Swinson said: “Luciana becomes the fourth MP in three months to cross the floor and join the Liberal Democrats. We’re thrilled to add her perspective, expertise and skills to our ever-growing parliamentary team.
“The Liberal Democrats are growing in strength as we lead the fight to Stop Brexit altogether. We are fully behind a People’s Vote, and we are the rallying point for Remainers and the liberal centre ground.”
The Lib Dems refused to confirm or deny that Ms Smith or Ms Allen were on the verge of joining the party.
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