David Cameron tried to stop three Tories quitting to join The Independent Group at the last minute

Former Prime Minister David Cameronmade a last-ditch bid to try and stop three Tory MPs from quitting to join a newly-formed group in the Commons.

Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston announced that they had left the Conservative Party shortly before PMQson Wednesday to join former Labour MPs in The Independent Group (TIG).

But Ms Soubry told The Times Red Box podcast that Mr Cameron sent them a text saying: 'Is it too late to persuade you to stay?'

Mr Cameron later said of the defections: 'I respect their decision, but disagree with them: we need strong voices at every level of the party calling for the modern, compassionate Conservatism that saw the Conservative Party return to office.'

The three MPs who quit on Wednesday said they had not been contacted by the current leadership before their decision, despite the intervention by Mr Cameron.

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The Independent Group
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The Independent Group
(back row left to right) Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, (middle row, left to right) Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey, (front row, left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan, following a press conference for the Independent Group where the three Conservative MPs, Wollaston, Allen and Soubry, announced their resignation from the party.
File photo dated 04/10/16 of Tory MP Heidi Allen, who has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group.
(back row left to right) Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, (middle row, left to right) Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey, (front row, left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Joan Ryan, following a press conference for the Independent Group where the three Conservative MPs, Wollaston, Allen and Soubry, announced their resignation from the party.
File photo dated 20/10/18 of MP Sarah Wollaston, who has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group of MPs.
Chuka Umunna and Angela Smith (foreground) with Gavin Shuker, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes and Chris Leslie (background) leave One Great George Street in London, following a press conference for the Independent Group where three Conservative MPs, Sarah Woollaston, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry, announced their resignation from the party.
File photo dated 15/01/91 of MP Anna Soubry, who has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group of MPs.
Chris Leslie (standing), Angela Smith and Mike Gapes (right), who were among the seven MPs to quit Labour to sit as an independent group, in the seats next to the DUP during health questions in the House of Commons, London.
Conservative MPs (left to right) Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen, during a press conference at One Great George Street in London, following the announcement that they have resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group of MPs.
File photo dated 05/06/2008 of Labour MP Joan Ryan, who has announced she is quitting the party and will join the Independent Group in the House of Commons.
Britain's Labour Party MP Chuka Umunna arrives at a news conference in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's Labour Party MP Chuka Umunna makes an announcement he is leaving the party, in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's Labour Party MP Luciana Berger arrives at a news conference in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Labour's Brexit stance and its handling of antisemitism has resulted in seven lawmakers leaving the party.
REFILE - QUALITY REPEAT Britain's Labour Party MP Gavin Shuker makes an announcement he is leaving the party, in London, Britain, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Former Labour party MPs Ann Coffey (Centre L), and Chuka Umunna arrive to speak at a press conference in London on February 18, 2019, where they and colleagues announced their resignation from the Labour Party, and the formation of a new independent group of MPs. - Seven MPs from Britain's opposition Labour Party on Monday announced they were breaking away and forming an independent group in protest at the party's support for Brexit and its failure to stamp out anti-Semitism. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Chuka Umunna, U.K. lawmaker, gestures while speaking during a news conference announcing his resignation from the main U.K. opposition Labour Party in London, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Umunna is one of seven members of Parliament saying they will stand as independents after quitting the Labour Party over issues including Brexit and antisemitism. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former Labour party MP Luciana Berger (C), arrives with MPs Chris Leslie (3R), Angela Smith (2R) and Gavin Shuker, to speak at a press conference in London on February 18, 2019, where they announced their resignation from the Labour Party, and the formation of a new independent group of MPs. - Seven MPs from Britain's opposition Labour Party on Monday announced they were breaking away and forming an independent group in protest at the party's support for Brexit and its failure to stamp out anti-Semitism. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Labour MP Angela Smith who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Chris Leslie and Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey (not present) and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Mike Gapes who has announced his resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker and and who will be known as the Independent Group. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Labour MP Chukka Umunna announces his resignation from the Labour Party at a press conference on February 18, 2019 in London, England. Chukka Umunna MP along with Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Anne Coffey and Mike Gapes have announced they have resigned from the Labour Party and will sit in the House of Commons as The Independent Group of Members of Parliament. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Labour MPs (left to right) Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker after they announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster and the creation of a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MPs (left to right) Chris Leslie (Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, (both hidden left), Gavin Shuker, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna and Mike Gapes, after they announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster and the creation of a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna speaks during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London where, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey, announced his resignation from the Labour Party and the formation of a new political party, which will be known as the Independent Group.
Luciana Berger MP arrives at a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London where she announced her resignation from the Labour party and the formation of a new political party, which will be known as the Independent Group, with six other Labour MPs who have also resigned today.
Luciana Berger stands with other Labour MPs, (left to right) Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Gavin Shuker, following a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, where they and Angela Smith and Ann Coffey, resigned from the party to create a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MP Angela Smith leaves County Hall in Westminster, London where she announced her resignation from the Labour party, and the creation of a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, with six other Labour MPs who have also resigned today.
Labour MP Luciana Berger following a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, where along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker, resigned from the party to create a new Independent Group in the House of Commons, in the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.
Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks as she announces her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker, and the formation of a splinter group which will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MPs (left to right) Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Chuka Umunna after they announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, to create a new Independent Group in the House of Commons.
Labour MPs Angela Smith and Gavin Shuker, listen to Chuka Umunna answering questions, after they and Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes and Chris Leslie announced their resignations during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, and the formation of a new political party, which will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Mike Gapes who has announced his resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker and and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Ann Coffey who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie and Mike Gapes and Gavin Shuker and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Gavin Shuker who has announced his resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie and Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey (not present) and who will be known as the Independent Group.
Labour MP Angela Smith who has announced her resignation during a press conference at County Hall in Westminster, London, along with a group of six other Labour MPs, including, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Chris LeslieAngela Smith and Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey (not present) and who will be known as the Independent Group.
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The Prime Minister said she was 'saddened' by their decision to quit and insisted that under her leadership the Tories were offering 'decent, moderate and patriotic politics'.

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The newly-formed TIG are already polling high, securing support from 14% in a recent YouGov poll – double the support of the Lib Dems.

More MPs from both Labour and the Tories are thought to be on the verge of quitting and joining TIG in the coming days and weeks, while TIG MP Dr Wollaston believes up to a third of the Cabinet could walk out if Theresa May steers the country towards a no-deal Brexit.

Dr Wollaston claimed the Tory party was 'destroying itself' as Mrs May drifted to the right under pressure from the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteers.

The former Prime Minister said he disagreed with the Tories who quit the party (Getty)
The geographical make up of The Independent Group (PA)

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'I know that there are many colleagues on my side who will be watching carefully and expecting Theresa May to be certain that she is not going to take us out on a no-deal Brexit.

'Certainly I think that a third of the Cabinet, I'm pretty clear, would walk if they were looking at a no-deal Brexit.'

Dr Wollaston said 'the Tory party has changed, I think it has changed irredeemably', adding: 'I would say the Tory party is destroying itself.'

The state of the Commons after the formation of The Independent Group (PA)

Fellow TIG MP Ms Allen said that around 100 of her former colleagues on the Tory benches shared her frustrations at the direction of the Conservative Party.

Ex-education secretary Justine Greening and former attorney general Dominic Grieve both indicated they would leave the party if the Government backed a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Greening told Today she was staying in the Conservative Party 'for the moment'.

The Independent Group is currently made up of former Labour and Tory MPs (PA)

Asked if she would follow her three former colleagues to the Independent Group she said: 'It is something that I have considered, but I have reached a different conclusion for the moment.'

Former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson said he felt 'morally compromised' staying in Labour following anti-Semitic abuse endured by people such as ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger.

He told ITV's Peston: 'Now what is Jeremy Corbyn going to do about this? I mean, this risks growing from a splinter into a cavernous split in our party if he doesn't take action to stop it.'

Lord Mandelson urged Labour MPs to remain in the party.

- This article originally appeared on Yahoo UK

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