190802  Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson Image Credit: AFP

London: UK's Boris Johnson loses parliamentary majority as MP joins Liberal Democrats.

How did it happen?

The Conservative Party, the party that propelled Johnson to become UK's Prime Minister, lost its majority in the British Parliament on Tuesday when Conservative MP Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats during Johnson's speech to the House of Commons.

As a result, it leaves Johnson's government with no working majority in Parliament.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson confirmed the move in a tweet welcoming Lee.

Who is Phillip Lee?
Phillip James Lee is a British politician has been the Member of Parliament for Bracknell since winning the seat at the 2010 general election.

He served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for Youth Justice, Victims, Female Offenders & Offender Health at the Ministry of Justice.

He resigned from government in July 2018 in response to the Government's handling of Brexit.

In early 2019, he became Chairman of Right to Vote. He was a member of the Conservative Party until 3 September 2019, when he joined the Liberal Democrats.

He went on to study medicine at Imperial College London and qualified as a doctor in 1999. He has worked in hospitals across the Thames Valley, including Wexham Park Hospital, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Wycombe Hospital, St Mark's (Maidenhead) and Heatherwood Hospital as well as at St Mary's Hospital, London.

Lee qualified as a general practitioner (GP) in 2004 and continues to practise locally part-time.

Shortly after, Lee tweeted his resignation letter in which he wrote that he make the decision lightly.

He added: "Sadly, the Brexit process has helped to transform this once great Party in to something more akin to a narrow faction, where an individual's 'conservatism' is measured by how recklessly one wishes to leave the European Union."

Why did Lee join the Leb Dems?

The Liberal Democrats' website detailed Lee's reasons why he defected

"After a great deal of thought, I have reached the conclusion that it is not possible to serve my constituents’ and country’s best interests as a Conservative Member of Parliament," wrote Dr. Lee.

"Over 27 years ago I joined the Conservative & Unionist Party led by Sir John Major. Since 2010 I have had the privilege of representing the Bracknell Constituency. The Party I joined in 1992 is not the Party I am leaving today.

"This Conservative Government is aggressively pursuing a damaging Brexit in unprincipled ways. It is putting lives and livelihoods at risk unnecessarily and it is wantonly endangering the integrity of the United Kingdom.

"More widely, it is undermining our country’s economy, democracy and role in the world. It is using political manipulation, bullying and lies. And it is doing these things in a deliberate and considered way. It has gone so far beyond reckless as to cease to be conservative.

"I am dismayed at what the Conservative Party has become, the role that it has played in feeding division and populism, in squandering a hard-won reputation for sound stewardship, and the blinkered direction in which it has set our country.

"Those are not my values. I will not implicitly condone these things by being party to them.

"Make no mistake: this is a time of reckoning.

"The challenges that our world and country face are real – but not insurmountable. We need to root how we address them in evidence and reality. Critically, we need to recognise that we will not solve climate change, counter extremism, or address our housing, health and social care needs alone."