Senior cabinet ministers Home Secretary Theresa May and Business Secretary Sajid Javid have both confirmed that they will campaign to keep Britain in the EU. The news will likely delight embattled Prime Minister David Cameron, who is facing strong criticism from Conservative supporters and his own Cabinet over his attempts to renegotiate Britain's membership with the EU.
"The EU is far from perfect," May, the home secretary, said, committing herself to ongoing reform. "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."
In a statement released just before today's meeting, May hailed Cameron's EU deal, saying that "it means we keep control of our right to decide which criminal justice measures we participate in. It strengthens our ability to deport dangerous foreign criminals.
"And while European countries must work together to tackle terrorism, it makes clear that our national security is ultimately our responsibility, not Europe's."
Fragile economy swings Javid
The Spectator is reporting that business secretary Javid, whom the Out campaign had hoped to win over to their side, will also through his weight behind Europe. He had previously said he was "not afraid" of leaving the EU due to the "opportunities" the decision would open up. bBut according to James Forsyth, "what has swung Javid to IN is his sense that it is just too risky for Britain to leave right now given the parlous state of the global economy".
Battlelines amongst the rest of the upper ranks of the Conservative Party are being drawn in the first Cabinet meeting to be held on a Saturday since the Falklands War. Several big names, most notably Boris Johnson, are still publicly undecided, while others, including justice minister Michael Gove, are confirmed to be supporting the Brexit campaign.
Cameron has vowed to fight with his "heart and soul" to keep the UK in the union after securing a deal on a package of reforms for Britain during hectic talks over the last two days in Brussels.