David Cameron To Pledge 'In-Out' EU Referendum
The Prime Minister will today pledge an "in-out" referendum on Europe as he makes the defining speech of his premiership.
"It is time for the British people to have their say," David Cameron will declare. "It is time to settle this European question in British politics."
Mr Cameron will signal that if the Conservatives win the 2015 General Election, a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union will take place in 2017 or 2018.
In his long-waited and much-delayed speech on Europe, the Prime Minister will say he wants Britain to stay in the EU, but it must be more "flexible and adaptable".
He will finally make the speech in central London this morning, after postponing it because of the Algeria hostage crisis only hours before he was due to make it in Amsterdam last week.
With Tory MPs and activists clamouring for a referendum and with UKIP on the march, many Conservative MPs believe today's referendum pledge could be a turning point in the battle to win the next General Election.
With its strong Euro-sceptic tone and referendum pledge, the speech is likely to delight many Tory MPs, but alarm pro-Europeans in the party like Kenneth Clarke and Lord Heseltine, who fear Mr Cameron is taking a risky gamble.
Promising a referendum, Mr Cameron will say: "The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament.
"And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum."
The Prime Minister will say legislation for a referendum will be drafted before the next election and if a Conservative government is elected it will introduce the laws immediately and pass them by the end of that year.
Confirming that the poll would take place in 2017 or 2018, he will say: "And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament."
Mr Cameron will say he speaks as a Prime Minister with a positive vision for the future of the EU, but it must change, becoming more "flexible, adaptable and open".
"If we don't address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit," he will warn.
"I do not want that to happen. I want the European Union to be a success. And I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it."
Rejecting calls for an immediate referendum, Mr Cameron will say: "Some argue that the solution is therefore to hold a straight in-out referendum now. I understand the impatience of wanting to make that choice immediately.
"But I don't believe that to make a decision at this moment is the right way forward, either for Britain or for Europe as a whole. A vote today between the status quo and leaving would be an entirely false choice.
"It is wrong to ask people whether to stay or go before we have had a chance to put the relationship right."
While Tory MPs hope the Prime Minister's speech will spark a recovery in the Conservative Party's fortunes, Labour leader Ed Miliband says it will "define him as a weak Prime Minister, being driven by his party, not by the national economic interest".
A few hours after the PM's speech, the two leaders will clash at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, when Mr Cameron and Tory MPs are likely to challenge the Labour leader on his policy on the EU and a referendum.
what do you think?
"It is time for the British people to have their say," Mr Cameron will say. Well if its time, why wait nearly another 5 years. He's extracting the urine again and taking us all for fools.
It will never happen. Its just talk. We will never get out of the EU. It will cost us millons of pounds for nothing. We will get more EU people coming here using our NHS and getting benefits and never worked a day in life here. All the partys are rubbish and dont care for ENGLAND ,the Labour party are the worse. Thats why we are cutting our toops number so we can pay for all the extra europeans that are coming here. Why dont we cut the Govenment jobs,get rid of a few them to pay for EU. ROLL ON UK INDEPENDENCE ,AND STOP PAYING FOR THE EU . Then we will have money to pay for the NHS and our Armed forces ,etc .
Really. And when was the last time he promised us an IN/OUT referendum. Oh yes just before the last election almost 3 years ago. He is clutching at straws and knows full well he won't be in a position to offer a referendum in 2017. The votes UKIP take from the tories will see to that
Portrait of the Tories sleepwalking towards electoral disaster - and a good thing too.
It's about time too, only somehow I don't think it will happen.
Haha he is that desperate!? Pro European Cameron desperately waving the anti-Europe card to keep his M.P's quiet. Planning a referendum for 4yrs time?! Oh dear oh dear. If he really meant it, he would set the wheels in motion now!
Just face it, there ain't gonna be a referendum, to many ifs and buts, especially " if we win the next election". Talk about held to ransom.....
I don't trust a ditherer.In/out now or else my vote will go else where.
There is no reason to wait 4 or 5 years for a referendum that should have already taken place. Allow a few months of debate and have a referendum this May. Westminster should remember they are our employees and nothing else yet they treat us with total contempt. We have a right to decide for ourselves. Stop forcing things on us that we don't want and are damaging us beyond repair, and that's a lot more than just the EU.
pledge? more bilge!
Am I right in thinking that a few weeks ago he promised a referendum on should we negotiate a new deal with the EU. Now he is saying voting Tory will be a mandate for change in Europe. Why the change? Is he running scared because of the switch from support from Conservative to UKIP? He seems to be trying to appease his own party not do what's best for the UK. And still no independent advice from any source on EU. A badly informed voter is as bad as not voting in my opinion.
"In-Out" - A 'to the point' description of Cameron's premiership
No. You tried that stunt before. We don't trust you. We need the referendum BEFORE the election, not after!
Haven't they used this lie before?
Can someone tell me how the Scottish Independence referendum fits into all of this? If the Scots vote for the breakup of the UK then effectively the UK no longer exists! This will surely mean that the UK's membership of the EU is then open to question and what remains of the UK will have to reapply for membership under a new title! If the Scots vote to become independent then they will have made up Cameron's mind for him (no doubt this is the reason he agreed so easily with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond to allow the referendum to go ahead in Scotland in 2014). Cameron is therefore hedging his bets at this moment in time when he says there will be an in/out referendum on the EU after the next general election in 2015. This is his way of placating his party just in case the Scots vote to remain within the UK .
There are 15 current comments on this subject and it is interesting to note that every one is stating that either Cameron is a lier and can not be trusted or that an IN/OUT vote will never happen. This is the mood of 90% of this nations voters and Cameron and his crew should take note that you lied in the previouse vote on the EU and will not be trusted in the future (actually the conservatives have no future). UKIP will increase there vote in the next election which unfortunatly will let LIEBOUR in and we will all suffer from the past and future incompetence of this load of idiots..Pray for a CROMWELL
Making promises to try and get voted in again I see. It makes me laugh that any government can make promises for a date AFTER the next election and think anyone will believe them.
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LIES LIES AND MORE LIES..if they win do they think the people of G.B are all idiots
how many lies has this man told .he biggest liar in political history