Which Conservative ministers campaigned to Leave and Remain in the EU?

As part of the arrangements for the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron allowed members of his party to have a free vote, despite it being agreed government policy to support membership. This meant that Cabinet members – who normally have to express support for the government’s positions – were free to campaign and vote as they wished.

The large majority of Cabinet members supported membership, including Cameron himself, Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Theresa May. In total, 18 full Cabinet members supported Remain.

Four full members supported Leave: Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale and Commons Leader Chris Grayling. At the start of the campaign, they had been joined by Iain Duncan Smith, but he resigned his post as Work and Pensions Secretary.

Beyond the Cabinet, Conservative MPs were split roughly 60:40 in favour of EU membership.

View all facts

Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter

Get a round-up of The UK in a Changing Europe’s latest analysis pieces, videos, explainers, podcasts, reports, events, infographics and more, written by the organisation’s director Anand Menon. PS his mum says it’s "quite good".

Sign up to our newsletter

View our latest newsletter