Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd resigns party whip over Brexit
Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd has resigned his party's whip so he can vote for Theresa May's Brexit deal.
The Eastbourne MP said he cannot honour his promise to accept the result of the 2016 referendum while abiding by official Lib Dem policy.
PoliticsHome revealed last month that party activists were demanding he have the whip withdrawn after he said he supported the Prime Minister's stance.
In a statement to the Eastbourne Herald, Mr Lloyd said: "It is with great regret that I am today resigning the Liberal Democrat party whip in Parliament.
"I have come to the conclusion that I cannot honestly uphold the commitment I made to Eastbourne and Willingdon two and a half years ago, and reiterated since - to accept the result of the referendum, vote for the deal the Prime Minister brought back from the EU and not back calls for a second referendum - whilst supporting the Lib Dem parliamentary party’s formal position of voting against Theresa May’s deal and advocating a ‘People’s Vote’.
"Consequently, I have decided that the only honourable thing for me to do is resign the Party Whip in Parliament."
He added: "When it comes to representing my constituency, today’s announcement changes nothing. Folk have always known that I put our town before party politics.
"That was the case yesterday, it is today, it will be tomorrow, and will remain for as long as I have the privilege of representing Eastbourne in Parliament."
Dozens of Liberal Democrat members, including serving councillors and parliamentary candidates, signed an open letter calling for Mr Lloyd to lose the whip over his position on Brexit.
Cllr Zoe O’Connell, one of the leading signatories of the letter, told PoliticsHome: "Supporting this deal does not respect the result of the referendum, because what is proposed fails to deliver on the desperate promises made by the Leave campaign.
"If those promises can not be fulfilled, then the democratic thing to do is to remain - and the best way of verifying that this is the will of the people is, right, now, a People’s Vote or a general election."