Britain's ruling Tory party lost its parliamentary majority Tuesday as the melee continues over legislation to delay the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.
Conservative Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats amid Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech against legislation that would delay Brexit three months past the October 31 deadline. Lee, who had been a Tory for nearly three decades, said the party has become "infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism."
Lee's defection changes Johnson's political calculus amid the chaotic Brexit fight, but will not automatically trigger a new election. The Liberal Democrats and some members of Johnson's own party vehemently oppose exiting the European Union without a deal in place to mitigate the consequences of the move, but Johnson has forged ahead, vowing to push Brexit through whether or not a deal is reached with the EU.
"If that happens, all the progress we have been making will have been for nothing," Johnson said of the legislative proposal to extend the October 31 deadline, saying it would force the U.K. to accept whatever deal the EU demands. "There are no circumstances in which I could accept anything like it. We promised the people we would get Brexit done. Enough is enough. The country wants this done."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who backs the delay bill, slammed Johnson's remarks, calling the prime minister's policies "dangerous and reckless."
Johnson has threatened call a snap general election and kick members who oppose a no-deal Brexit out of the party.
"Let's get on with the people's agenda," he said.