Andrew Bridgen MP formally announces he is joining Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party
Andrew Bridgen MP has formally announced he is joining Laurence Fox's Reclaim Party following his expulsion from the Conservative Party after comparing Covid-19 vaccines to the Holocaust.
The North West Leicestershire MP was revealed as the first representative of Mr Fox's party in the House of Commons, at a press conference on Wednesday.
Making the announcement, he said there is a “chasm” between Parliament and the people.
“There is a huge chasm now between our Parliament and what goes on in Westminster and the people,” he said.
He said he was joining Laurence Fox’s party “because they respect free speech as the basis for every aspect of our democracy and our society”.
The Reclaim Party will target “problematic” MPs at the next election, party leader Mr Fox has said.
Speaking after Mr Bridgen announced his defection to the party, Mr Fox said Reclaim would not stand 650 candidates at the next election, but would engage in a “very targeted” campaign.
Mr Bridgen was stripped of the Tory party whip in January after making the vaccines comparison to the Nazi genocide in the Second World War, claiming coronavirus jabs were "the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust".
After an investigation, it was decided to expel him from the governing party last month.
It was understood that the Conservative disciplinary panel found against him for the vaccines claim.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the comments as "utterly unacceptable".
A regular vaccines critic, Mr Bridgen accused the Tories of kicking him out "under false pretences" and had stated his intention to run against the party at the next election, as he hit out at "corruption, collusion and cover-ups".
Earlier this year, Mr Bridgen was handed a five-day suspension for breaking the MPs' code of conduct banning lobbying.
He was found to have committed a series of breaches including an "unacceptable attack upon the integrity" of then-standards commissioner Kathryn Stone.