Justice Secretary Michael Gove has said his time in government has left him “convinced” that the UK would be better off if it left the European Union.
Mr Gove said he had thought “long and hard” during the Prime Minister”s reform negotiations before deciding that “ultimately, we need to take back control”.
He said: “During my time as a minister, I”ve seen all sorts of decisions taken by European politicians and European judges that I can”t change and that people in this country can”t influence and I think if politicians are to be trusted and if our political system is to work we need to take back control of those decisions.”
The former education secretary said it had been “incredibly difficult” to tell his friend and ally Mr Cameron that he would be joining Boris Johnson and five other Cabinet ministers backing the Leave campaign.
He said: “He”s been very generous in allowing me to outline what I believe.
“Before I entered politics I was sceptical about the European Union. As a result of being in office I”ve become convinced that we would be better off out.”
The Prime Minister was “shocked and hurt” when Mr Gove revealed his decision, the justice secretary”s wife has claimed in her newspaper column.
Sarah Vine wrote that she had never known her husband to change his mind, adding: “Baroness Thatcher herself could rise from her grave to tell him to get back in his box, and still he wouldn”t.”
The columnist also described the dinner at Marina Wheeler and Boris Johnson”s home that she and her husband were photographed leaving last week, as “surreal”.