Ex-Tory MP Matthew Parris quits party after 50 years to back Lib Dems

Matthew Parris appears on the BBC's Daily Politics. Photograph: BBC.

Matthew Parris appears on the BBC's Daily Politics. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Former Tory MP and prominent newspaper columnist Matthew Parris has said he will quit the party after 50 years in a call for Conservatives who oppose Brexit to support the Liberal Democrats in the election.

The Times journalist said he will cast his vote for the Remain-backing party in the December 12 ballot "to defeat Tory zealotry over Europe" as he added to a growing list of members to quit.

His defection follows that of Antoinette Sandbach, who was one of the 21 Tories expelled by Boris Johnson after rebelling over legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Parris wrote: "Despair is no longer enough: finally one must act. So with this column I'm leaving the Conservative Party."

He cited a string of former Tories, some of those expelled and some of those who left under pressure, adding that he could be counted out too.

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"I am a conservative not a Liberal Democrat but will unhesitatingly vote Lib Dem to defeat Tory zealotry over Europe, this time," he wrote.

"So should every former Tory voter who still believes it would be folly for Britain to leave the European Union."

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There is much Mr Parris stated he will miss about the party, though he added: "But the Tory party has crossed their Rubicon. Now I must cross mine."

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