Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samara's party admitted today that it had expelled one of its MPs for threatening to vote against crippling austerity measures.
Greece is finalising a package of spending cuts worth €11.5 billion (£9.4bn) for 2013 and 2014 which creditors insist must be ratified by parliament before the EU and IMF will hand over next bailout.
Nikos Stavrogiannis was dismissed from the New Democracy parliamentary group after saying that he would vote against the measures, which include a new wave of cuts to wages and pensions, because they were "unfair, harsh and ineffective."
He said in an interview published on Saturday: "My conscience does not allow me to vote for measures that devastate the weakest members of society."
The expulsion of Mr Stavrogiannis, who will remain in parliament as an independent, underscores the hard line being taken by conservative leader Mr Samaras to push through the cuts at the behest of lenders even at the cost of extending a huge domestic crisis.
His dismissal reduces the three-party coalition's backing to 177 seats in the 300-member parliament, still above the simple majority needed for the measures to pass.
Many more MPs are said to be considering their position but it is thought unlikely that there will be enough principled MPs to overturn the ruling coalition.
today's report on eurozone government debt also brought bad news for Greece.
The country's 2011 deficit was estimated at 9.4 per cent, up from 9.1 per cent. Its debt was calculated at €365bn (£298bn) or 170.6 per cent of GDP, up from 165.3 per cent.
The cuts, which will be spread over two years, have to be voted through parliament by November 12 when eurozone finance ministers meet to decide whether Greece has behaved itself - only four days before the country runs out of cash.