Isabel Hardman

David Cameron backs calls to keep Tory party neutral during EU referendum

David Cameron backs calls to keep Tory party neutral during EU referendum
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David Cameron will today support calls from his MPs to keep the Conservative party neutral during the EU referendum campaign, Coffee House understands.

The Times reports this morning that the Conservative party board will meet to discuss whether or not the party machine should remain strictly neutral. This would mean the campaign to stay in the EU, which the Prime Minister is expected to support, could not use campaign data gathered by CCHQ, or organise activists using the party’s structures.

A Number 10 source tells me that Cameron will be represented at the board, and that his view is that the party should be neutral during the referendum. The meeting may reach a different conclusion, but Cameron is clearly aware of the serious risk of a split posed by harnessing the might of CCHQ for one side or another when Tories will campaign on both sides during the referendum. His view on the Cabinet maintaining collective responsibility during the referendum is currently unchanged.


The Spectator is hosting an evening discussion ‘Is the EU bad for business?’ at 7pm on Tuesday 20 October at The Royal College of Surgeons, WC2. Speakers include: Dominic Cummings, director of the ‘No’ campaign and Will Straw, executive director of the ‘Yes to Europe’ campaign and is chaired by Andrew Neil. For tickets and further information, click here.