A Conservative MP has suggested he will “spend the summer” deciding whether to defect to the Liberal Democrats due to his opposition to a no-deal Brexit.
Dr Phillip Lee, who supports a second EU referendum, revealed he feels “politically homeless” following the election of Boris Johnson as Tory leader.
The new prime minister has promised to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October “do or die”, raising the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.
But Dr Lee argued such a policy could see the Tories shed supporters.
Speaking on a podcast with fellow Tory MP Sam Gyimah, Dr Lee was asked whether he could quit the Conservatives and join the Lib Dems under their own new leader Jo Swinson.
“At the moment I’m increasingly feeling politically homeless,” Dr Lee replied.
“The party I joined was the party of John Major and John Major, I think, is probably feeling like this judging by his contributions in recent weeks.”
He added: “I’m really not comfortable about my party pushing for no-deal Brexit without proper consent of the public.
“Purely on the national interest, I think it’s wrong to do this. But party politically I think it’s narrowing our base in a way that I don’t see how we win elections.
“And if you don’t win elections in a democracy you don’t have power and you can’t do things you want to do. It’s just simple reality.
“I’m sort of sitting here, looking on and – yeah – I’m going to spend the summer thinking a lot.”
Three Tory MPs – Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen – quit the party earlier this year to join an independent grouping in the House of Commons.
They teamed up with eight Labour defectors, including Chuka Umunna – who has since joined the Lib Dems.
Dr Lee was previously reported to have dismissed claims he could defect from the Tories as having “no substance”.
His local Bracknell Conservative Association passed a motion of no confidence in Dr Lee last month, which prompted the speculation over his future.
In June last year, Dr Lee was the first minister to resign from the government over its Brexit strategy.