The Conservative Party has been hit by more defections this weekend in another major blow to the party.

Two former Tory MPs, Stephen Dorrell and Neil Carmichael, have said they are leaving the Conservative Party in order to join the ultra-europhile splinter party Change UK (CUK), formed by eight Labour and three Conservative MPs who had left their former parties over issues including anti-Semitism in Labour and their handling of Brexit.

Writing in the left-wing Observer, Mr Dorrell, a former Health Secretary under 1990s prime minister John Major, claimed that the Conservative Party “has fallen progressively under the influence of an English nationalist outlook”, adding that “I shall continue to describe myself, as I always have, as a liberal Conservative but I shall do so in future as a supporter of Change UK – The Independent Group, which I believe has become the natural home of those who regard themselves, as I do, as the heirs of Disraeli, Churchill, Macmillan and Heath.”

Meanwhile, Mr Carmichael was quoted as saying, “I think the attitude of the Conservative party at the moment is simply wrong. It isn’t easy for the Prime Minister – she was dealt a bad hand. But the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ slogan got us off to a hard Brexit start and her red lines on leaving the Customs Union and Single Market did not help thereafter.”

Both former MPs have expressed their interest in standing in the upcoming EU elections for the CUK party. The elections are due to take place on May 23rd, if the United Kingdom has not agreed a Brexit deal in parliament by May 22nd.

The latest polls by Opinium show that the Conservatives have fallen well behind Labour, with Labour currently leading on 29 percent to the Conservatives down on 17 percent. UKIP are in third place on 13 percent with Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party rising from nowhere to 12 percent.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats are polling at 10 percent, with CUK on just 4 percent.

These polls are echoed in Westminster voting intention as well, in another sign of trouble for the Conservatives, who have fallen to third place in popularity among those who voted to Leave the EU behind UKIP and the Brexit Party.

The Brexit Party, co-founded by Nigel Farage, was formed in order to combat the poor handling of Brexit and to radically reform politics. The party launched on Friday in Coventry and held its first rally in Birmingham on Saturday, with Farage announcing that Britain was a nation of “lions led by donkeys” and that he would take on the “career political class” to reform politics in Britain.

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