A Lib Dem peer has defected to the Conservatives because of Tim Farron's support for retaining EU membership

Mark Sands
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May's party continues to enjoy a lead over Labour and the Lib Dems in latest polling (Source: Getty)
oncerns around the Liberal Democrats' pro-European stance under Tim Farron have driven one of the party's peers to defect to the Conservatives.

Baroness Manzoor announced her decision this morning, praising Theresa May's approach to the verdict of the June referendum.

Farron has sought to make the Lib Dems the party of the 48 per cent of voters who backed remaining inside the EU, but Manzoor, who has been a Lib Dem peer for three years, said she could not support a party that “refused to acknowledge the will of the people in a referendum”.

Baroness Manzoor said: “Theresa May's vision of a Britain that works for everyone, and her clear leadership over Brexit, now make the Conservatives a natural home for me and millions of people like me, from all communities across the UK.

“As Britain embarks on a new journey, outside the EU but reaching out to trade with the world, and as we really begin addressing the problems of social mobility at home, I look forward to helping play my part as a Conservative.”

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Manzoor is the second Lib Dem peer to quit the party for the Conservatives in recent weeks – Baroness Emma Nicholson returned to the Tories in September more than 20 years after she first quit the party.

Nicholson was a Tory party vice-chair under Margaret Thatcher, but left the party in 1995. She resigned from the Lib Dems during the parliamentary recess this Summer.

It comes as a cross-party group of MPs pushes for a parliamentary vote on the UK's membership of the Single Market.

The group reportedly features two Conservative MPs - former business minister Anna Soubry, who has become a prominent critic of the government in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, and former education secretary Nicky Morgan, who was also ousted from Theresa May's first cabinet.

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