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Members of Cameron’s Cabinet are now free to speak their mind on the EU. Here’s what they’re saying

20 February 2016

12:02 PM

20 February 2016

12:02 PM

David Cameron’s two hour Cabinet meeting is now over, and the campaign has now started. His Cabinet members are now free to back (or oppose) Brexit, here is a list of who’s saying what.

Out camp

Michael Gove: The Justice Secretary is to back Out. Entering No.10 he informed reporters that he would be making a statement after Cabinet — only to head straight from Downing Street to Vote Leave’s HQ –where the Cabinet members who are backing Brexit have gathered.

Gove has issued a statement — via Vote Leave — describing the decision as the ‘most difficult’ of his political life:

‘I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.’

He goes on to highlight the inadequacy of EU law as a motivating factor before warning that the chance to leave the EU ‘may never come again in our lifetimes’. The full text can be found on Coffee House.

Priti Patel: The employment minister is expected to back Out, and this has been widely briefed in the papers. She refused to speak to reporters as she arrived at Downing Street. She is Iain Duncan Smith’s deputy and the two are seen as a team.

John Whittingdale: The Culture Secretary is backing Brexit. Whittingdale is yet to release a statement but has joined his 5 fellow Cabinet Out-ers a the Vote Leave headquarters for a photo opp.

Chris Grayling: Grayling will vote to leave. The Leader of the House of Commons’ decision is unsurprising as he is a well known Eurosceptic. In an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Grayling says he believes the European Union is now holding this country back:

‘Above all, I do not believe we can take decisions in our national interest when we’re part of the European Union when we’ve given up so much control over what this country does.’

Iain Duncan Smith is to back Brexit. He has headed straight to Vote Leave HQ to make his stance known.

Theresa Villiers: It was always thought that Villiers would choose to vote Leave. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has confirmed this today.

In camp

George Osborne: The Chancellor of the Exchequer was always going to back remain. Osborne took to the airwaves this morning to cement his position. Appearing on the Today programme to defend Cameron’s deal, he warned voters that a vote for Brexit would be a ‘leap in the dark’.

Sajid Javid: As James Forsyth revealed this morning, the Business Secretary will be campaigning to remain. SajidJavidThis will come as a relief to No.10 as Javid had been seen to be sitting on the fence. It’s thought that he decided it was too much of a risk to leave the EU in light of the fragile state of the global economy. Javid has left the meeting, ignoring questions from reporters.

Jeremy Hunt: The Health Secretary is expected to vote to remain. Sources close to Hunt say that he will back the Prime Minister.

Theresa May: The Home Secretary has confirmed that she is backing the In camp. May has released a statement explaining her decision, citing national security as a motivating factor:

‘The EU is far from perfect, and no one should be in any doubt that this deal must be part of an ongoing process of change and reform – crucial if it is to succeed in a changing world. But in my view – for reasons of security, protection against crime and terrorism, trade with Europe, and access to markets around the world – it is in the national interest to remain a member of the European Union.’

Anna Soubry: The business minister who attends cabinet has told reporters outside No.10 that she will be backing remain. ‘I’m always in, I always have been,’ she says. ‘He’s done a good job.’

Nicky Morgan: The Education Secretary has always made it clear that she will vote to stay in. She has told reporters that she thinks Cameron got a ‘good deal’ from his Brussels negotiations.

Oliver Letwin: Letwin has told Sky News he will be backing the Prime Minister. Which is odd because those who know him know that he has wanted Britain to leave the EU for years. But Letwin was never going to defy his boss: he always has been more of a special adviser than politician.

Liz Truss: The Environment Secretary is backing remain. She has issued a statement via Twitter.

Jeremy Wright: The Attorney General will vote to remain. He is yet to issue a statement.

Justine Greening: The International Development Secretary says she will vote to remain:

‘I believe the Prime Minister has successfully negotiated a good deal for Britain and we should stay part of a reformed European Union. Most importantly it’s now time for millions of British people to have their say in this referendum.’

Stephen Crabb: The Welsh Secretary has praised Cameron’s EU deal. He says that the deal provides ‘a strong and pragmatic basis to say on balance we should stay in’.

Michael Fallon: The defence secretary is backing remain. Fallon — who has described himself as Eurosceptic in the past — is yet to release a statement explaining his reasons.

Greg Hands: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is backing David Cameron’s EU deal. He says that he will vote to remain in the EU because the deal allows Britain to clamp down on welfare while remaining ‘at the heart of a single market’.

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland will vote to remain. Mundell says he will be campaigning in Scotland — alongside Ruth Davidson — to keep Britain in the EU.


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