LAST week Bracknell MP Dr Phillip Lee dramatically quit as a Tory MP and defected to the Liberal Democrats.

Questions about his future have been widespread since he took the decision to leave Boris Johnson’s government, with residents divided over his actions.

Bracknell News asked readers to send Dr Lee their questions as the member of parliament sat down for an exclusive interview on Friday (September 6).

Read below to find out what the former-Conservative had to say in response to readers' questions about his new party, Brexit, his future as Bracknell’s MP and more…

(The following is an abridged transcript of the News’ interview with Dr Lee - to watch the full interview, click here)

Craig asked… Are you fit to be Bracknell’s MP?

“People ask me, what's your responsibility as a member of parliament - it is to represent the best interests of my constituents and to try to protect their futures for them and their families.

“That's what I've been doing for the last 9 years almost, as a candidate and MP and that's what I intend to do going forward as a Liberal Democrat member of parliament.

“I’m really positive that being a Liberal Democrat makes me better able to serve the best interests of my constituents.”

Alice asked... how much longer will you be Bracknell’s MP for and will that be as a Liberal Democrat?

“I’m a Liberal Democrats member of parliament, that’s what I am now, formally, and proud of it. When is the next general election? Look at the news. It’s a really fluid situation so I don’t know is the honest answer. No one knows.

“My guess is we are going to have a General Election in some form at some time in the next few months the way it’s looking, but I don't know that. Technically at the moment, I'm the member of parliament here under the Fixed Term Parliament Act until May 2022.

“That’s the longest it can be but I suspect it will be a shorter period of time before an election takes place.”

Mike and Elaine asked... if the Bracknell Lib Dem party has been in touch with you and if they’d support you in the next election?

“They’ve already had a vote and unanimously adopted me, it’s gone through that formality and I can’t tell you actually how the warmth of the parliamentary party of the Lib Dems both in the Commons and in the Lords, the great majority of communications have been so generous and so kind and look, it is, on a human level, slightly disorientating.

“You’re leaving your party and you’re joining another party, it’s difficult and it’s not straightforward. But my god, the party I have joined have made it on a human level have made it a so much easier task.”

Lisa asked... why aren’t you representing your constituents' views on Brexit, as Bracknell voted Leave?

“When I am privy to the understanding of where business is on this issue of Brexit, particularly no-deal Brexit, when I’m privy to information about the known difficulties around medicine in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and all the other things which are now in the public domain, and I am entrusted with the responsibility to do what I believe as a trustee is best, I think in view of the fact that I represent everybody in this constituency, the best interests of everybody, I believe I’m doing that.

“Now of course if you are a no-deal Brexit type sort of character, you are not going to be happy with the positions I have taken.

“I get that. To hold that view is well within your rights to hold that view, we’re a democracy.

“But ultimately I have to make decisions on the basis of the information as I understand it and I don’t think a no-deal is anything other than disastrous for this constituency.”

IN MY VIEW: Bracknell councillor urges residents to come together to get things done

You’ve talked about a second vote on the Brexit issue, and in light of that, Nicholas and Caroline asked why don’t you give Bracknell’s residents a second chance to vote you in via a by-election?

“I think the last thing we need at the moment, when dealing with Brexit, is by-elections. Actually, the last thing we need when dealing with Brexit is a general election.

“General elections and by-elections aren’t single-issue phenomena. Quite rightly they’re about health, social care, education, they’re across the board. It’s about everything.

“The problem we have got at the moment in this country politically, the big problem, is Brexit.

“Even though someone who didn’t want the last referendum because he said publicly that he thought it would end up like this, I recognise that there is no way, no democratic way of resolving this impasse then going back to the public in a final referendum.

“If we do this, I hope it’s the last time we have a referendum on a complex issue in a parliamentary representative democracy because generally speaking it isn’t a good idea.”

READ MORE: Take a look inside Easthampstead Works

Adam asked… You abstained on a vote for marriage equality, so are you able to represent your constituents as a Liberal Democrat?

“It was a positive abstention and it wasn’t on marriage equality. My personal belief and this verges on being a conscious issue, a philosophical point, was that the state government should not be involved in marriage. Marriage was a religious construct and it’s the responsibility of churches, synagogues, mosques, to undertake marriage.

“I wanted the state out of the ‘marriage business’. But what I wanted at the same time, and what I’ve always believed in is equality, in the eyes of the law, between homosexual and heterosexual relationships. I was backing an amendment to introduce something called civil union, which was the state’s way of recognising the legal validity of a homosexual and heterosexual relationship, and then just say if you want to marry people in the church, synagogue, mosque, that’s your decision. That’s a religious requirement, nothing to do with the state.

“Now I actually think that’s quite a liberal position. When it came to the day, the vote was not pushed, the amendment wasn’t pushed. So I was left with do I vote for gay marriage or not? I don’t want to vote against equality for homosexual couples. So I positively abstained. I walked through both lobbies. My name is published. I didn’t just not turn up, I was there considering everything.”

Olivia asked... if you were to stand in Bracknell at the next election, as a Lib Dem, do you think you would win?

“Look, first of all, my decision this week was hardly a career move. It was hardly like I was, if I was a cynical careerist, like some of those in the cabinet who are prepared to do anything in order to stay as a Conservative because of their ‘safe seat’, though I question the whole concept of safe seats in the current political situation, I wouldn’t have done what I did.

“I don’t have any firm plans to do anything, to go anywhere.

“To answer directly, because I like to answer directly, I will be standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate. I think the decision as to where is for another day.”

What has the reaction been like in terms of your correspondence with constituents?

“I mentioned to you before we started filming, my office has been overwhelmed with communications, four-figure numbers, it’s huge. My twitter feed exploded. It’s approaching 30,000 likes of my tweet, it’s Kim Kardashian level, which is unusual. We’ve been overwhelmed.

“There have been people who are angry with me, some of your questioners who have said you’re not doing what I want, and there have been other people who have been very generous and kind and said I admire you for your principled stance. It’s been a week of highs and lows.

“I’m in this building, my office is at the top and this building is in essence owned indirectly by the Conservative Association. It’s an odd feeling coming in here thinking I’m now a Liberal Democrat. It’s a human thing and I probably think it isn’t right and I think we probably need to come to some sort of arrangement to change that situation because I shouldn’t think either side wants that to continue.

“I’ve joined a party and I feel comfortable, I feel at home, I feel like I can speak my mind. I feel this is a political force I think will do good for this constituency and for this country. So however difficult some aspects of it have been this week, on balance, I’m content and excited for the future.”

Earlier this week you published an open letter to residents - is there any other message you would like to add for your constituents and Bracknell News readers?

“My message to the constituency and to all constituencies is that I remain the member of parliament for Bracknell and I retain the same values, principles, the same determination to do the best job I can do, as do my entire staff. Everybody is committed to doing what we think is a pretty good job, we’re proud of what we do in this part of the world.

“We help people when we can help people, we intervene when we can intervene, and we have a track record of successes in various different area, education, health, whatever. Constituents know this, teachers around here know this, businesses around here know this, and I’ve had to put up with scurrilous stuff being peddled, all MPs do, I’m not going to start crying over it.

“I know that me and my office here and in Westminster do try and do the best we can at all times and the fact that I’m now a Liberal Democrat MP makes no difference to that approach. I will continue to serve this constituency to the best of my ability up until the next general election for sure, and that’s always been my determination and I’m proud of my record.”

To watch the full interview, click here