Cameron bows to the inevitable over cabinet meeting

David Cameron cabinet Image copyright Getty Images

This afternoon Number 10 has bowed to the inevitable, and conceded that if (and it is still an if) the deal is done at the EU summit in Brussels this week David Cameron will hold a cabinet meeting as soon as he returns to London early on Friday evening.

A few weeks ago we reported very real concerns about the choreography in the aftermath of the summit from Eurosceptic cabinet ministers, worried that the PM would be setting the pace and terms of the debate in its vital early hours.

While they didn't commit officially to a position, the sense in Downing Street was that there was no need to shift cabinet from its usual Tuesday spot.

They hoped and expected that cabinet ministers who wanted to campaign for exit would keep their counsel until then, when the government had adopted its official position.

But in truth, at least one senior figure had already resolved to break their silence and reveal their plan to campaign for Out over the weekend, in defiance of Number 10.

With that knowledge, and several frank conversations with Eurosceptic ministers, David Cameron's team have decided to relent. This is not just a story for political process nerds (honest), but it illustrates how Eurosceptics, although in a clear minority in the cabinet, have been able to force Downing Street's hand.

This week's summit and now, the 24 hours that follow, are shaping up to be some of the most important in David Cameron's political career.

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