Ministers will be allowed to campaign for either side during the EU in-out referendum, according to a statement by David Cameron.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons that during his discussions with European leaders there was a “great deal of goodwill” and strong support for Britain to stay within the EU. In fact, Cameron said that many leaders began their remarks not by saying that Britain is better off within the EU, but that Europe is better with Britain staying in it.
Cameron was firm on the point that the government will reach a “clear recommendation” before the referendum is held. However, ministers will be allowed to campaign as individuals while remaining a part of government and nothing is set in stone, as it is “the people, not the politicians, who decide.”
The Guardian has reported that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers are expected to campaign to leave the EU. As a member of the cabinet committee overseeing them, Duncan Smith is expected to hold off until after the EU negotiations have been completed.
Home Secretary Theresa May and London Mayor Boris Johnson are expected to choose a side once the negotiations are completed.
Business Secretary Savid Javid is reportedly leaning towards the leave side, yet may be wary of campaigning opposite the PM and the Chancellor George Osborne.