5 Bloc Québécois MPs who quit party returning to the fold

The five Bloc Québécois MPs who dramatically quit the party earlier this year are returning to the fold, marking another twist in a tumultuous year for the sovereigntist party.

Sovereigntist party will now have 10 MPs in the House of Commons

Mario Beaulieu became interim leader of the Bloc Québécois after Martine Ouellet resigned amid controversy over her style of leadership. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The five Bloc Québécois MPs who dramatically quit the party earlier this year are returning to the fold, marking another twist in a tumultuous year for the sovereigntist party.

The news was first reported by La Presse Canadienne and confirmed by Radio-Canada.

Mario Beaulieu, the party's interim leader, made the announcement at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

The party has been in a shambles since late February, when seven of its 10 MPs quit, citing former leader Martine Ouellet's style, and started their own party — Québec Debout.

Ouellet had been criticized for being uncompromising and for focusing too sharply on Quebec independence instead of on defending the province's interests on the federal scene.

She stepped down in June after losing a confidence vote. Soon after, two of Québec Debout's MPs rejoined the Bloc.

With the other five returning to the team, the Bloc Québécois will now have 10 MPs in the House of Commons, still two seats short of official party status.

The Bloc's impact on the national political scene has diminished since its heyday under Lucien Bouchard. In the 1993 election, the party secured 54 seats and formed the country's Official Opposition.

Bloc support ebbed and flowed after the 1995 independence referendum.

It secured another 54 seats in the 2004 election, but lost official party status after the 2011 election, with the bulk of its seats going to the NDP.