Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen all walked out this morning – telling Theresa May they will push for a second referendum on Brexit.
The drastic move plunges the PM into chaos by slashing her tiny majority even further, making her more reliant on the DUP.
Mrs May said she was "saddened" by the dramatic development and insisted she was "doing the right thing" by delivering on Brexit.
All three rebels are fiercely anti-Brexit – despite the referendum majority – and have been lobbying for a second EU referendum.
They wrote in a letter to Mrs May: “We no longer feel we can remain in the party of a Government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP.
“Brexit has re-defined the Conservative party – undoing all the efforts to modernise it. There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hardline ERG which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy.”
They claimed Brexit was the "final straw" and accused the PM of failing to reach out to Remainers in the wake of the 2016 referendum.
The trio concluded: "We believe there is a failure of politics in general, not just in the Conservative Party but in both main parties as they move to the fringes, leaving millions of people with no representation.
"Our politics needs urgent and radical reform and we are determined to play our part.”
Brexit has re-defined the Conservative party – undoing all the efforts to modernise it
They pledged to back the PM on "measures to strengthen our economy, security and improve our public services" but confirmed they would sit with the ex-Labour independents who walked out earlier this week.
Responding in a statement, Mrs May said: “I am saddened by this decision – these are people who have given dedicated service to our party over many years, and I thank them for it.
“Of course, the UK’s membership of the EU has been a source of disagreement both in our party and our country for a long time. Ending that membership after four decades was never going to be easy.
“But by delivering on our manifesto commitment and implementing the decision of the British people we are doing the right thing for our country. And in doing so, we can move forward together towards a brighter future.”
“I am determined that under my leadership the Conservative Party will always offer the decent, moderate and patriotic politics that the people of this country deserve.”
The three former Tories are the first non-Labour MPs to join the Independent Group which was launched on Monday and has been dubbed an "anti-Brexit party".
It pushes the number of MPs in the group up to 11 – the same size as the Liberal Democrats.
And Mrs May's Commons majority has been cut to just eight, combining the Tories and DUP.
If more Conservative MPs walked out the PM would lose her majority altogether – potentially triggering a General Election.
The Tory trio had been in talks with Labour rebels Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie over the court of this week.
Welcoming them to the group, Mr Leslie said: "MPs putting their country and constituents ahead of the broken political parties."
SQUEEZE ON PM
Phillip Lee, another Tory Remainer, warned the PM she is "in danger of fracturing the party" by refusing to soften her Brexit deal.
He insisted more Conservative MPs would walk out if Mrs May "vacated the centre ground" – but said he wouldn't go himself.
Dominic Grieve also insisted he's not planning to switch parties despite being increasingly alienated by the Tories' Brexit strategy.
Nicky Morgan said: "Any political party should be a broad church and we should regret losing three such talented women from the Conservative party."
And Amber Rudd added: "Great shame to have lost the commitment and undeniable talent of three Conservative colleagues."
Government minister Nigel Adams called on the trio to resign their Commons seats and trigger by-elections.
And Tory backbencher David TC Davies added: "We know how strongly you feel about a Peoples Vote. We are looking forward to you holding one in your constituencies."
Mr Umunna, Mr Leslie and five other Labour centrists rocked Mr Corbyn when they quit en masse on Monday morning.
They are now sitting as the Independent Group in Parliament and plan to launch a fully fledged new party later this year.
Lefties claimed the move by Ms Allen, Ms Soubry and Ms Wollaston proved the Independent Group is a "Blairite-Tory coalition".
Momentum boss Laura Parker said: "This is unfair, undemocratic and dishonest."
A snap poll today suggested that one in seven voters would back the Independent Group if they stood in a General Election.
Combined with the Lib Dems, the centrists would get 21 per cent – nearly as much as Labour, on 26 per cent.
Last night Joan Ryan became the eighth Labour MP to join the group and slammed Mr Corbyn's leadership.
She told the BBC today: "He has introduced or allowed to happen in our party this scourge of anti-Semitism.
"It has completely infected the party and at every opportunity to deal with it he has not done so.
Labour's revenge on rebels with bid to make it illegal to switch parties
LABOUR today threatened to make it illegal for MPs to quit their party and stay in the Commons.
The party has vowed to launch a "mammoth listening exercise" in response to the resignation of seven centrist MPs this week.
But today they unveiled their formal response – taking revenge on the splitters by pledging to introduce a new law.
The measure would see a "recall petition" triggered whenever an MP leaves the party they were elected for.
If 10 per cent of local voters signed the petition, a by-election would then take place.
Shadow minister Jon Trickett said: "Communities should not have to wait for up to five years to act if they feel their MP is not properly representing their interests."
But critics pointed out that Jeremy Corbyn himself has previously said voters should support individual MPs instead of parties.
In 2010, he urged left-wing voters to back him even if they opposed the leadership of Gordon Brown.
"We never had this problem in the party before he was the leader. It comes with him, it is part of his politics I am afraid."
But far-left trolls welcomed Ms Ryan's resignation because she is chair of Labour Friends of Israel.
The official Young Labour Twitter account posted a message saying: "Joan Ryan Gone – Palestine Lives".
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