Two of David Cameron’s senior cabinet members have exposed Conservative splits over Europe.
Education secretary Michael Gove said he would vote to quit the EU if a referendum was held immediately. His view was later echoed by defence secretary Philip Hammond.
Mr Gove maintained he backed the prime minister’s strategy to seek the return of powers from Europe before an ‘in/out’ referendum by 2017.
He told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show his preference was to change Britain’s relationship but life outside the EU would be ‘perfectly tolerable’.
Asked if he would vote to quit now, he said: ‘Yes, I’m not happy with our position with the European Union.’
Mr Gove added: ‘My ideal is exactly what the majority of the British public’s ideal is, which is to recognise the current situation is no good, to say life outside would be perfectly tolerable, we could contemplate it, there would be certain advantages.
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