Wrapped into the The Times’s (£) splash today about the ConservativeHome manifesto is a suggestive paragraph about the Chancellor’s evolving views on Britain’s EU membership. “George Osborne’s views on Europe have undergone an ‘unmistakable hardening’, according to his biographer [Janan Ganesh]. The chancellor now believes that EU exit is ‘no longer unthinkable’ and fears that the eurozone is working against the interests of countries outside the single currency.”
This returns us to the question of how many Tory Cabinet would vote to leave the EU today. Tim Montgomerie wrote on this site after Michael Gove’s declaration to that effect in 2012 that “my estimation is that at least eight Tory Cabinet ministers would privately sign up to exactly that view”. My count is four. To Gove we can certainly add Philip Hammond, Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling. That number may rise during the months ahead.