BRACKNELL MP Dr Phillip Lee has defected to the Liberal Democrats ahead of tonight's crucial Brexit vote.

The former-Conservative member of parliament is one of more than a dozen cross-party MPs hoping to push through a bill this evening which makes sure the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

Rumours have been circling that should the bill pass, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who now no longer has a parliamentary majority after Dr Lee crossed the floor, will try to call a general election. 

WATCH THE MOMENT PHILLIP LEE JOINED THE LIB DEMS

In a statement, Dr Lee said: "Over 27 years ago I joined the Conservative and 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 endagering 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.

LIVE UPDATES AS PHILLIP LEE QUITS THE TORIES

"That is why today I am joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats.

"I believe the Liberal Democrats are best placed to build the unifying and inspiring political force needed to heal our divisions, unleash our talents, equip us to take the opportunities and overcome the challenges that we face as a society - and leave our country and our world in a better place for the next generations."

Dr Lee Ardent quit as a junior justice minister in June 2018 in protest at the government’s Brexit strategy.

The MP lost a confidence vote from the Bracknell Conservative Association in June. 

Liberal Democrats councillor Imogen Shepherd-DuBey told the News: "The Lib Dems welcome Dr Lee to the party. 

"This is a sign the Conservatives Party is imploding.

"We welcome any other MPs who want to join us and join the fight."

David Winsper, the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Brexit Party, called for Dr Lee to call a by-election.

He said: "It can't be right that from a general election turnout of 72 per cent, of which 4,186 voted Lib Dem, this individual now seeks to represent less than 4 per cent of constituents.

"The duplicity in politics is precisely why I have lost faith in the current crop of self-serving, career politicians, who have lost touch with democracy."