EU referendum: Which members of the Tory cabinet might quit over Europe?

David Cameron has made a U-turn over a threat to make ministers resign

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Indy Politics

David Cameron’s plans for a referendum on European Union membership are mired in confusion after he appeared to backtrack on a threat to force Eurosceptic ministers to resign if they campaigned for a No vote.

Some ministers believe Mr Cameron may eventually allow them to call for a No vote during a four-week referendum campaign, but is determined to maintain discipline while he seeks a new EU deal to avoid a spate of media stories about Cabinet splits.

Another option is for Eurosceptic ministers to resign to campaign for Britain to leave the EU during the referendum on the understanding that they would get their job back after the public has voted.

Here are the Tories who might quit over the issue:

Iain Duncan Smith

The Work and Pensions Secretary is seen as the most likely to leave Cabinet on this issue.


Philip Hammond

The Foreign Secretary will be closely involved in the renegotiation, and fellow Eurosceptics fear he will back David Cameron.

Michael Gove

The Justice Secretary has suggested that the UK would enjoy some advantages outside the EU but is a close ally of Cameron.

Boris Johnson

Eurosceptics would love the Mayor of London, a member of the political cabinet, to lead the No campaign, but fear he will rally behind the PM.

Chris Grayling, the leader of the House of Commons, has been demoted twice (Getty)

Michael Fallon

The Defence Secretary has said the Government could recommend a No vote but is an instinctive loyalist.

Sajid Javid

The Business Secretary is a strong EU critic but may be “locked in” to Cameron’s strategy as a member of the Cabinet committee on Europe.

Oliver Letwin

The PM’s policy chief has been frustrated by EU interference but is a long-standing Cameron ally.

Chris Grayling

The leader of the House of Commons (and former Justice Secretary) has been demoted twice. Prepared to pull Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

John Whittingdale

The Culture Secretary and former Margaret Thatcher aide was a surprise promotion to the Cabinet and may have promised loyalty.

Dominic Raab

The Eurosceptic justice minister may have another fish to fry –diluting the influence of the ECHR.

Priti Patel

The employment minister was a leading member of Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party but is seen as a loyalist.