EU referendum: Conservative minister Chris Grayling says the European Union is disastrous for the United Kingdom

James Nickerson
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Grayling is widely expected to campaign for Brexit (Source: Getty)

A Conservative cabinet member has warned that remaining in the European Union (EU) under the current terms of membership would be disastrous for the United Kingdom, ahead of the upcoming In/Out referendum.

Writing in the Telegraph, Chris Grayling said the EU is heading towards closer integration, a path which the UK "will not and should not follow".

Grayling is the first minister to speak out so strongly against continued EU membership, after Cameron told cabinet members they could campaign with their consciences.

Read more: Hammond - I can't envisage campaigning for Brexit

Last week Prime Minister David Cameron said he will allow cabinet members to campaign on either side ahead of the upcoming referendum.

Cameron is hoping to reach an EU-wide agreement at a summit next month, causing speculation the referendum could be held as early as this summer.

At the moment, there isn't one stand out leader for the Out campaign: it's possible Grayling is positioning himself to play a key role in campaign for the UK to leave the EU.

Read more: Villiers under pressure to resign post if she campaigns for Brexit

Grayling, the leader of the House of Commons and former justice secretary, didn't go so far as to say the UK should leave the EU outright, but has been widely expected to campaign for Brexit.

The UK is at "a crucial crossroads" and "cannot be left in a position where we have no ability to defend our national interest" within the EU, Grayling said.

"Nor can we simply accept endless migration from across Europe with no ability to slow or stop the resulting growth in our population," he added.

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