The prime minister has admitted that cabinet splits over the EU are "difficult" and personally "disappointing" but has insisted that they does not destabilize the working of the government.
David Cameron compared high-level disagreements on the issue to divisions within a family, but said that it was only right to let ministers follow their convictions.
"This is obviously a difficult and almost unique situation" he told students at Exeter University.
"It's disappointing when someone I admire a lot like Michael Gove has reached a decision I don't agree with but you just have to recognise this is such a big issue that you can't just bury these differences."
He said he does not believe that it "necessarily means the government suffers" as a result.
It's different, it can be a bit abrasive, emotions will run high, arguments will get robust. But I think in a mature democracy if you're going to have a referendum...you have got to let people be on both sides of the argument.
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