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Attorney General may back Brexit


BRITAIN’S most senior legal officer may vote to leave the EU amid fears that European Courts are eroding Britain’s sovereignty, The Telegraph has learnt.

Jeremy Wright, the Attorney General, is considering joining the campaign for Britain to leave the EU over concerns that David Cameron’s deal may not go “far enough”. Mr Wright, who sits in the Cabinet, is said to be “50/50” on whether Britain should stay in the union.

Mr Wright is the sixth Cabinet minister known to have concerns about the strength of the deal Mr Cameron has negotiated with EU leaders.

Mr Cameron will carry out negotiations with European leaders on Thursday and Friday before returning to Britain to formally announce the start of the referendum campaign.

Mr Wright’s position is particularly intriguing because, as Attorney General, he has a key role in deciding whether any deal is “legally binding”. Mr Wright declined to comment, but a source said: “If he doesn’t think it’s a good enough deal he will vote to leave.

“At the moment he is undecided, he is conscious that this is not the final deal yet and major changes one way or another could swing his decision. He is 50/50. He also has significant concerns about the influence of the European courts. There is a question of whether Britain needs to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights entirely.”

The Attorney General joins senior Conservatives including Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, who are both yet to declare their intentions.

Five Cabinet ministers are said to be preparing to back the Out campaign, including Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Chris Grayling, the Leader of the Commons and Priti Patel, the employment minister.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce plans to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of rights shortly after he publishes his EU deal. However, The Telegraph understands that Mr Wright has concerns that these re- forms may not be strong enough to protect Britain from the influence of European courts.

Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers are growing increasingly frustrated at Mr Cameron’s refusal to let them speak out. They have warned that they are prepared to ignore Mr Cameron’s edict to stay silent.

Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said on Sunday that a Brexit could lead to other EU states holding referendums as the Continent “lurches very much in the wrong direction”.

French sources said that they would not renege on current border arrangements, undermining Mr Cameron’s recent claims that Brexit would result in migrant camps such as “the Jungle” in Calais moving to southern England.

Tory Eurosceptics accused him of “scaremongering” and pointed to comments by Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, who has said that ending the border arrangements would result in a “humanitarian disaster”.





Daily Telegraph