Close to reach a deal with EU membership. The conservative MP Nick Herbert has launched Conservatives for Reform in Europe (CRE) to argue the case for the UK to stay under renegotiated terms.
He led the campaign to keep Britain out of the euro 15 years ago.
But UKIP’s Nigel Farage said Mr Herbert had never argued for EU exit and was “doing a job bolstering” David Cameron.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Herbert – who left the government in a reshuffle in 2013 – said: “Leaving without the first idea of what we might get instead would be to jump into a void.
“Whatever our views about the EU, the key long-term challenges facing this country – how to deliver health and social care with an ageing population, how to increase our competitiveness and productivity, how to deal with our debt and live within our means – would not suddenly be solved by leaving.”
Mr Herbert said he wanted to “give voice to the thousands of Tory members and supporters” who want Mr Cameron to succeed, arguing his proposed reforms would restore UK “sovereignty” and reduce the “draw” for European migrants coming to Britain by curbing benefits.
But he warned that if the PM was unable to secure sufficient changes to the UK’s terms of membership “many of us would be prepared to leave”.
His views were echoed by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan – the first minister to officially declare her allegiance to continued EU membership.
In an article for the Observer, she said: “I think all of us agree what we don’t want Britain to be: anti-competitive with more laws made overseas and with people travelling here for the benefits on offer rather than to pay their way.
“But we also don’t want our children to inherit a Britain cut off from the world, where their prospects are limited and their opportunities end at our shores.”
And Lib Dem MP and former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said there was “safety in numbers” in remaining a member of the EU and he hoped that most people who did not feel strongly about the issue would decide the “risks of leaving outweigh the imperfections of staying”.
He told Andrew Marr that mass migration would remain a problem whether the UK was in the EU or not although he suggested that support for Turkey to ultimately become a member of the EU was waning.
UKIP leader and MEP Nigel Farage rejected suggestions that the momentum was with those arguing to stay within the EU.
“I have never regarded Mr Herbert as a staunch eurosceptic,” he told the Sunday Politics. “When he was a minister and since, he never once advocated Britain leaving the EU. He is doing a job bolstering the prime minister.”
He added: “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.”
And in response to Mr Clegg’s comments, Tory MEP Daniel Hannan tweeted: “No-one is against co-operation in Europe. It is only the coercion that we object to.”
Meanwhile, Iran has hailed the end of sanctions. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said it is a “new chapter” in its relations with the world.
But US imposes new sanctions over Iranian ballistic missiles programme. They were triggered by Iran conducting a precision-guided ballistic missile test capable of delivering a nuclear warhead last October, violating a United Nations ban.
“Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” said Adam J Szubin, US acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Conclusion: The world is very stress on Sunday.