Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Opposition to planned exit from the European Union led three British lawmakers to leave the Conservative Party Wednesday to join an independent movement that was started by seven other members who left the Labor Party earlier this week.
Lawmakers Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen in a jointly-signed letter criticized the Brexit plan by Prime Minister Theresa May in their departure from her party.
The letter accused the party of following the conservative, Brexit-supporting European Research Group and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.
"We no longer feel we can remain in the party of a government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP," the letter states. "Brexit has re-defined the Conservative party - undoing all the efforts to modernize it. There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hardline ERG, which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy."
The move continued the political fallout from Brexit as the date for Britain to leave without a deal solving critical financial issues, March 29, fast approaches. Several major companies have scaled back business in Britain or left altogether because a plan has not been settled.
The seven Labor Party members -- Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey -- announced their departures Monday and criticized party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Lawmaker Joan Ryan also left the party Tuesday, citing its failure on Brexit policy and a lack of effort to resolve anti-Semitism issues within the group.
May said she was "saddened" at the new departures, saying the three had given "dedicated service" to the Conservative Party.
"Implementing the decision of the British people we are doing the right thing for our country. And in doing so, we can move forward together towards a brighter future," the prime minister said.
The new fallout comes as May returns Wednesday to Brussels hoping to get EU leaders to renegotiate the Brexit agreement. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he doesn't expect a "breakthrough."
The agreement brokered between May and the EU has been rejected by British Parliament and lawmakers have since urged her to return to Belgium to hammer out a better deal.