David Cameron will finally deliver his long-delayed speech promising a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the European Union on Wednesday, Downing Street has announced.
After months of preparation, he had been due to travel to the Netherlands last Friday to spell out his plans in front of an audience of business leaders and diplomats.
But the Prime Minister was forced to postpone it the night before as the gravity of the Algerian hostage crisis became apparent.
Mr Cameron will now stay closer to home to set out his European vision and make the speech in central London ahead of appearing at Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Number 10 explained: “It best fits with the Prime Minister’s schedule.”
Extracts of the speech, released before last week’s cancellation, show Mr Cameron will warn Britain could “drift towards the exit” unless there is real change in Brussels.
He will say the next Tory manifesto will include a pledge to negotiate a new deal for Britain in the EU and to put it to the voters in about five years’ time.
William Hague hinted yesterday that the speech would raise the prospect of eventually offering voters a referendum on membership of the EU.
The Foreign Secretary said there was a strong case for seeking “fresh consent” from the voters for Britain’s role within the EU.