Antoinette Sandbach becomes latest Tory Brexit rebel to defect to the Liberal Democrats
Antoinette Sandbach has become the latest Tory Brexit rebel to defect to the Liberal Democrats.
The Eddisbury MP surprised Westminster by announcing that she will contest the seat for her new party at next month's general election.
Sandbach was one of the 21 Tories sacked by Boris Johnson in September for voting to stop a no-deal Brexit.
She joins Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston, Philip Lee and Sam Gymah as former Tory MPs who have switched to the Lib Dems.
Former Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Angela Smith have also joined the party in recent months.
Announcing her decision on Thursday night, Sandbach, who was first elected to the Commons in 2015, said: "This general election will be the most important in my lifetime. People have a very clear choice, the Conservative Party offers years of uncertainty whilst the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit.
"I’m so proud to stand alongside other Liberal Democrat candidates across the country to fight for a brighter future with Jo Swinson, our candidate to be prime minister.
"I will stand on my strong local record, helping to secure local investment, fighting for fair funding for our schools and to secure additional funding in local health services.
"Our country deserves so much better than Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. I can’t wait to get to work, win this election and then deliver for my constituents and our country."
Swinson said she was "delighted to welcome Antoinette to the Liberal Democrats".
"She is a passionate campaigner, and will be a fantastic candidate at the general election and a great addition to our party," she said. "Her defection clearly shows that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and attracting support from right across the political spectrum.
"Antoinette is one of the millions of people who are tired of the two old parties, led by people who will take our country backwards, not forwards. It is only the Liberal Democrats that will stop Brexit and build the brighter future that our country deserves."
Sandbach's defection means the Lib Dems now have 20 MPs, eight more than they managed to elect in 2017.
However, she faces an uphill task if she is to retain her seat for her new party.
At the last general election, she won it with a majority of nearly 12,000 from Labour, with the Liberal Democrats a further 14,000 votes back in third place.