Former prime minister David Cameron has expressed his dismay and sadness after three Tory MPs defected from the party.

Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston have joined eight rebel Labour MPs in the Independent Group, which was formed on Monday and already has 11 MPs.

The three former Tories had cited Brexit and Theresa May's handling of the negotiations with the EU as the impetus for them leaving the government.

Their defection and the new party's presence in the Commons was curiously not acknowledged during Wednesday's PMQs by the prime minister or Jeremy Corbyn.

However, David Cameron did step into the debate and their decision to leave the Tories, which is something he profoundly disagreed with.

In a tweet, he wrote:

I am sad that three Tory MPs have left the party. I back the open primaries that saw two of them elected and supported them all.

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.

Our party has long been able to contain different views on Europe. Everyone must ensure that can continue to be the case. 

While Cameron's words were undoubtedly honest, people couldn't help but feel that his statement was a little short-sighted.

After all, he was the person that called the EU referendum in June 2016 and stepped down from his role at the head of government after he failed to keep the UK in Europe.

Let's just say that he probably turned his notifications off last night.

Anna Soubry has reportedly told The Times that Cameron had personally pleaded with her to stay in the party, with a cabinet minister also urging Heidi Allen to remain a Tory.

Still no regrets about calling that referendum, Dave?

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