Michael Fallon plays down rumoured David Cameron cull of Eurosceptics


Michael Fallon has played down rumours that David Cameron could cull ministers opposed to EU membership before the looming in-out referendum - insisting the Cabinet is "all Eurosceptic".

The Defence Secretary said the Prime Minister's team were all committed to his renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the union, suggesting it would address the "movement of peoples".

The Sunday Times reported that Mr Cameron was planning a reshuffle to remove hardline Eurosceptics before the crunch poll, which is due to take place by the end of 2017. The purge would apparently be designed to prevent a slew of resignations if the PM tries to force colleagues to back an "in" vote.

But Mr Fallon - himself a strong critic of the the EU - told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I think we're all Eurosceptics now. I don't see any 'Eurofanatics' around the Cabinet table.

"We are all part of the reform commitment we made in the manifesto to get a better deal out of the EU and I think David Cameron was pretty prescient to make the movement of peoples and the claiming of benefits one of the key areas for reform.

"I do think other European leaders are now beginning to realise that the originally European construct that anybody can move anywhere, that we were very wise to opt out of the Schengen arrangements and that we are right to pursue what is in our best national interest."