Former minister's pro-Europe group prompts fresh Tory rifts

THE LAUNCH of a new campaign group has further exposed the rifts in the Conservative Party over Europe.

Nick Herbert

Nick Herbert, once considered from the party’s Eurosceptic wing, will lead Conservatives forReform in Europe which is expected to back Britain staying in the European Union when David Cameron has completed his membership rengotiation.

The former minister, who has previously campaigned to keep Britain out of the Euro, warned their would be major risks associated with leaving the EU.

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He told Sky News: “I don’t think we are unconditional supporters of the European Union.

“It is very important know that there is a very substantial body who want to be in a position to say ‘yes, we will stay’, but only if we get the vital reforms that we need. If we do, Britain could be in a very advantageous position.”

The Prime Minister has promised members of the Government will be free to campaign for a ‘leave’ vote in the referendum which could be held as soon as June.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said: “I suspect that most senior politicians inside the Conservative Party will put their careers before their conscience and will back the Prime Minister’s position.

“But does that matter? That’s the real question. And I’m beginning to see this referenda actually as being the people versus the politicians. It might not matter.”

Mr Cameron is expected to finalise the deal he will present to British voters at an EU summit next month.