Today’s Times (£) reports that six Conservative MPs from the new intake have come out in favour of leaving the European Union. These are:
- James Cleverly, Braintree
- Craig Mackinlay, South Thanet
- Scott Mann, North Cornwall
- Royston Smith, Southampton Itchen
- Paul Scully, Sutton and Cheam
- Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Berwick-upon-Tweed
According to the report two other members of the class of 2015, which we dubbed ‘Cameron’s Children’, are said to be ready to back Brexit publicly: Maria Caulfield (Lewes) and Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood), although neither has made a statement yet.
The timing will be immensely frustrating for the Prime Minister, as it distracts from more welcome reports in today’s Daily Mail that the Polish government are easing up on their objection to curbs on benefits for EU migrants.
Such developments will make unwelcome reading in Number 10, where hopes were high that the new intake would prove more loyal to David Cameron than its more spirited predecessor.
However, it should be noted that none of the names in the Times report are very surprising additions to the ranks of confirmed Outers.
Even if Caulfield and Tolhurst both come out for Out, however, that will still only add up to just over ten per cent of the 74-strong 2015 intake.
Should anything close to the remaining 90 per cent stick with the Prime Minister and the Remain campaign, Downing Street will have little to grumble about.
On a more conciliatory note, Cleverly – who set out his reasons for backing Brexit in a Facebook post – has spoken out against calls for Cameron to resign should Britain vote to leave the European Union.
The Daily Telegraph quotes him as saying: “if we conduct the campaign in a friendly, professional, tough but gallant way, I don’t see any reason why anyone at the head of either side of the argument will need to stand down irrespective of what the result will be.”