No quick poll on EU, says David Cameron

 

David Cameron risked the wrath of Tory backbenchers tonight by again dismissing calls for a quick referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

The Prime Minister said the shape of Europe was changing and the UK faced "big choices" about the relationship.

But although the status quo was "unacceptable", Mr Cameron insisted that voting to leave the union would not be the best thing for the country.

The comments came after former Cabinet minister Liam Fox ratcheted up the pressure by calling for an immediate renegotiation of Britain's terms of membership - adding that the country should quit if that cannot be achieved.

In a statement to the Commons this afternoon, Mr Cameron said: "As Europe changes to meet the challenges of the eurozone, so our relationship with Europe will change too.

"There are those who argue for an in-out referendum now.

"I don't agree with that because I don't believe leaving the EU would be best for Britain.

"Nor do I believe that voting to preserve the exact status quo would be right either."

He went on: "I don't agree that the status quo is acceptable.

"But just as I believe it would be wrong to have an immediate in-out referendum so it would also be wrong to rule out any type of referendum for the future.

"The right path for Britain is this. First, recognise that in the short term the priority for Europe is to deal with the instability and chaos.

"Second, over time take the opportunities for Britain to shape its relationship with Europe in ways that advance our national interest in free trade, open markets and co-operation.

"That should mean, as I argued yesterday, less Europe not more Europe. Less cost, less bureaucracy, less meddling in issues that belong to nation states.

"Third, all party leaders will have to address this question.

"But it follows from my argument that far from ruling out a referendum for the future as a fresh deal in Europe becomes clear, we should consider how best to get the full consent of the British people."

Labour leader Ed Miliband mocked the Prime Minister's referendum stance, accusing him of having a "hokey cokey weekend".

"Three days, three positions. First it was no, then it was yes, then it was maybe," he said.

"Has there been a change in the Government's position, yes or no?"

Mr Miliband told MPs Mr Cameron was trying to appease the divisions in his own party rather than acting in the national interest.

"A nudge, nudge, wink, wink European policy is neither good for the country nor will it keep his party quiet."

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions