Prominent Tory Europhile Kenneth Clarke insists that most Conservative ministers want Britain in the EU
Kenneth Clarke insisted most Tory ministers wanted Britain to remain in the European Union as he hit out at “eccentric” and “strident” Eurosceptic backenchers.
The veteran Cabinet minister’s comments came 24 hours after David Cameron set out the seven major changes he wants as part of his drive to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership.
Speaking to a group of Europhile Conservatives, Mr Clarke argued that the Prime Minister could achieve his shopping-list through “political agreement” rather than through changes to EU treaties.
He also dismissed suggestions that the majority of Tory MPs were now anti-European.
“The party depends for its support on the Conservative mainstream and the more orthodox backbenchers,” he said.
“The price of orthodoxy is being less newsworthy than some of my more strident and even – dare I say – occasionally eccentric colleagues who I have seen over the years become household names for a year or two while they last.”
Mr Clarke said: “It’s certainly the case that in the ministerial ranks of the Conservative Party, the pro-EU sentiment is in the majority.”
He admitted that he and the Police Minister Damian Green, who also addressed the meeting, might be “outliers”, but added: “We are not by far the only ones inside and outside the Cabinet.”
Mr Green warned MPs that the public would vote to leave the union if pro-EU Tories failed to speak out.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...