UK & World News

  • 29 April 2014, 9:49

PM: 'I Will Quit If No EU In-Out Referendum'

David Cameron has said he will quit as Prime Minister if he cannot guarantee a referendum on EU membership in the next Parliament.

He told Conservative supporters that his party's pledge to give British people the vote would be a red line in any coalition negotiations.

It comes amid claims from Nigel Farage - the UKIP leader who is experiencing a massive surge in the polls ahead of European elections - that Mr Cameron has no intention of keeping the promise.

"This is not something I would ever barter away or give away," the Prime Minister said during a conference call with supporters who pressed him on the issue.

Mr Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Europe ahead of a referendum in 2017.

One caller called Ian asked how Mr Cameron planned to convince the British public that he was serious, adding: "I don't believe it myself".

Mr Cameron replied that he wanted to make it very clear that: "I would not be Prime Minister of a Government unless we could carry out our pledge of an in-out referendum.

"I've already pre-empted that question, what happens if somehow you don't win the election outright.

"I've been very clear: I would not continue as Prime Minister unless I be absolutely guaranteed this referendum will go ahead on an in-out basis."

He said people would always be "sceptical" but the more the party talked about and put it on leaflets and posters, the more people would believe it was a guarantee.

The Prime Minister has said he will try to reform seven different parts of the EU relationship, including around migration from new countries joining the group and cutting red tape for businesses.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain, said: "The Prime Minister is right to make a referendum a red line for any future government of his, especially if he wants British business to prosper in years to come.

"Britain will only be set free from the status quo and get a better deal from the EU if negotiations for reform are backed up by the guarantee of a referendum.