By the spring of 1967 the Government had moved more decisively towards launching another application for entry to the EEC, notwithstanding the marked differences of opinion within the Cabinet over Europe. The probes of European capitals undertaken by Wilson and Brown at the start of the year, despite some of the mixed signals that had been received, had given the Prime Minister enough leverage with his sceptical colleagues to begin arguing about the technical details of the terms of entry, and to bypass the basic issue of principle. In a process almost of ‘government by exhaustion’, Wilson staged a series of gruelling Cabinet meetings in March to thrash out the fine detail, where the need to at least make an attempt at entry became widely accepted by many, even if the eventual outcome of the process remained doubtful. The alternative to joining seemed to be increasing irrelevance on the world stage, a loss of influence in Washington (where the Johnson administration, as with its predecessor, strongly favoured British entry), and continuing long-term economic decline. Towards the end of April, Wilson brought matters to a head at a series of meetings with his Cabinet colleagues held at Chequers, where he successfully manoeuvred to secure a consensus behind entry. The Cabinet formally endorsed the decision to mount a second bid on 2 May 1967, and the Prime Minister came to the House of Commons to make the official announcement later that same day. 1