Three MPs have left the Tory party and they've taken compassionate Conservatism with them

0
Have your say

It’s a been a week of splits as the Westminster establishment splintered under the weight of Brexit pressure.

After a rather sombre Labour breakaway event on Monday, yesterday was the turn of the Tories and they were a bit more cheerful.

Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen held a press conference in Westminster after leaving the Tory party.

Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen held a press conference in Westminster after leaving the Tory party.

Yorkshire-born Heidi Allen, was especially upbeat as she talked about her enthusiasm for shaking up the system and finally leaving behind the hardline Tory Eurosceptics.

It would be tough, she said, but she was up for the challenge of changing politics and taking on the big party machines.

The other two - respected Health Committee Chair Sarah Wollaston and former minister and anti-Brexit poster girl Anna Soubry - were equally compelling.

They all rejected the far-right politics of Jacob Rees-Mogg and the European Research Group and talked up their shared values and tackling the worst excesses of austerity.

All eleven MPs in the new Independent Group attended the Westminster press conference together.

All eleven MPs in the new Independent Group attended the Westminster press conference together.

Of the Tory ranks the trio have long been some of the most effective and compassionate communicators in the House of Commons.

Wollaston has stood up for the health service, while Allen has fought for fairer welfare policies. And, of course, Soubry has won support from across the political spectrum for her relentless resistance to Brexit.

The Conservative party’s loss is undoubtedly the fledgling Independent Group’s gain, but it also raises wider questions about the future of their former party.

They were undoubtedly at the forefront of the compassionate Conservative vision set out by David Cameron. If there departure signals the death of that era, we could see the return of the nasty party.

But though they may be missed, their involvement in the new group may not be the coup it first appears to be.

Any wavering Labour MPs will now have to consider getting into bed with ex-Tories, and no matter how compassionate they are that could be a step too far.