Brexit battle lines drawn: Key figures choose sides as Cameron sets EU referendum date (VIDEO)

Education Secretary Michael Gove (L), Home Secretary Theresa May (C) and Chancellor George Osborne (2nd R). © Oli Scarff
Britain will vote on its EU future on June 23, paving the way for key government figures to declare whether they will stick with Europe or back a Brexit.

It seems that Prime Minister David Cameron will not be able to count on his justice secretary for support in the referendum, as Michael Gove is expected to campaign to leave the political-economic bloc. 

Brexit campaigner and UKIP MEP Roger Helmer hailed Gove’s anticipated stance as “courageous and principled,” while media magnate Rupert Murdoch also congratulated the justice secretary. 

Commons leader Chris Grayling has signaled his intentions to back a Brexit.

Ministers Iain Duncan Smith, Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers and Secretary of State for Culture John Whittingdale, are all being tipped to join a Brexit revolt.

Firmly in the pro-EU camp are Home Secretary Theresa May and Chancellor George Osborne.

May hailed the outcome of Cameron’s EU negotiations, saying greater decision-making power for the UK “strengthens our ability to deport dangerous criminals.”

She has also nailed her colors to the pro-EU mast by saying European Union membership remained in the “national interest.”

Minister of State for Small Business Anna Soubry also wants to stay in the EU. The Conservative MP retweeted a number of Stronger In campaign posts highlighting the benefits of Britain’s involvement in Europe.

The deal: “Special UK status”

A confirmed referendum date came as the Cabinet met on a Saturday for the first time since the Falklands War, to discuss the deal allowing the UK to pull back on certain EU membership obligations.

Speaking outside Downing Street Saturday, Cameron said he does not “love Brussels,” but staying in a reformed Europe will make Britain “safer” and “stronger.”

The Conservative leader announced on Friday he had “negotiated a deal to give the UK special status in the EU.

READ MORE: UK referendum on EU membership to take place June 23 - Cameron

Speaking of the EU negotiations, Cameron said the UK will “never join the euro,” or be compelled to contribute to EU armed forces or member state bailouts.

The deal will also allow the UK to set emergency brakes on migrant benefits and immigration.

Cameron is now ready to campaign “heart and soul” for staying in the EU after negotiating “the best of both worlds.” 

Pro-EU and Brexit campaign groups are now set to go into overdrive in preparation for Britain’s second referendum in two years.