It has been a bad week for Alberta’s Official Opposition, days after the Wildrose Party was shut out of a byelection in four ridings; an MLA has resigned from caucus – but leader Danielle Smith is looking forward.

Through a statement posted on his Facebook page Sunday, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Joe Anglin announced he was leaving the Wildrose Party to sit as an independent.

The post stated he had submitted a letter to Speaker Hon. Gene Zwozdesky, requesting that he “be seated as an independent MLA effective immediately.”

“It is no secret that I have been a round peg in a square hole in the Wildrose Party. I speak my mind. I bring different experiences and a different point of view to the caucus than my colleagues,” Anglin’s statement read, he went on to say it was a change in the party’s focus that prompted his exit from the party.

On Monday, Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith held a press conference in response to the development, saying she was planning to ask him to leave anyways.

“I was putting forward a motion to ask Joe to sit as an independent, obviously he knew that was coming,” Smith said.

In the press conference, Smith called Anglin a ‘defected member’, a distraction and the source of party dissention.

“He systematically eroded confidence with every member of caucus,” Smith said.

The exit came less than a week after the Wildrose lost in all four ridings in Monday’s byelection – in two, the Wildrose candidate finished in third place. However, the party is not worried.

“That’s not something we need to have an existential crisis over,” Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson said.

Now that Anglin is gone, Smith said, some frank discussions within the party can begin.

“When you want to have an open, full discussion and you’re worried your discussions are being recorded it creates a chill on the discussion,” Smith said.

Anglin denies recording meetings – calling the allegations an attack on his credibility.

The outspoken MLA says he’s a free agent, telling CTV News he’s open to anybody.

With files from Serena Mah