David Cameron says there will be no second referendum as he sets out 'British model for EU membership'

Speaking at Chatham House, the PM sets out key demands for EU renegotiation

PM wants to see EU reforms

David Cameron has said there will be no second vote on Britain's membership of the EU, as he revealed he will ask European leaders for a "clear, legally binding and irreversible commitment" that Britain will no longer be part of a push for "ever-closer union".

Speaking in a keynote address setting out his plans for the renegotiation of the UK's role in Europe, Mr Cameron said the referendum on Eu membership was "perhaps the biggest decision in our lifetime".

The Prime Minister said he wanted to establish "a British model of membership" for members of the EU who are not in the Euro, giving them a clear promise so that they do not become "rule-takers instead of rule-makers".

Mr Cameron said there would be "no second referendum" once Britain has voted. "This choice cannot be undone, if we vote to leave then we will leave," he said.

"This is our only chance to get this right, for Britain and for the whole European Union."

The Prime Minister hinted at a referendum date at the very end of 2017, but said he would not reveal exactly when a vote would be held until he had completed his renegotiations.

Setting out his reforms, Mr Cameron said the UK was a "proud, independent nation" which made decisions "with its head, not its heart".

Denying that he had embarked on "mission impossible", the Prime Minister said he had learned "how much Britain can gain from its membership of the EU".

Mr Cameron said: "I do not deny that seeking the agreement of 27 nations is a difficult task. But an impossible one? I do not believe it."

"The EU has a record of solving intractable problems, it can solve this one too. Because the prize is a big one - a European Union which can recognise the different visions of its members, and celebrate their diversity as a source of strength."

The Prime Minister said he had "come up with a carefully-crafted package" for Britain to get the most out of the EU.

His four "objectives" for reform will be set out in a letter to Donald Tusk, who chairs meetings of the EU’s 28 national leaders as European Council President.

Addressing them in turn, he said the world had become "undoubtedly a more dangerous place in the last three years", and said membership in the EU was a matter of national security.

He said he wanted to limit access to welfare for EU migrants, so that they could only receive in-work benefits after living in Britain for four years.

"The question is not whether Britain could survive outside the EU - that's not in question. The question is whether we are better off in or out," he said.

Cameron's EU demands

Objective one: “Protect the single market for others outside the eurozone.”

Goal: A new EU treaty to stop the 19 members in the eurozone ganging up on the nine “outs”, including the UK, on EU-wide decisions.

Chances of success: Reasonable. In return, the UK will allow the eurozone countries to integrate further.

Objective two: “Write competitiveness into the DNA of the whole EU.”

Goal: To cut the overall burden of EU regulation on business.

Chances of success: Good. The European Commission is already moving this way. But any UK demands to dilute workers’ rights could lose Labour and trade union support in the referendum.

Objective three: “Exempt Britain from ‘ever closer union’ – and bolster national parliaments.”

Goal: Legally binding and irreversible changes to allow a group of national parliaments to join forces to block proposed EU laws.

Chances of success: Reasonable. But will not satisfy Eurosceptics, who want a veto for UK Parliament.

Objective Four: “Tackle abuses of the right to free movement, and enable us to control migration from the EU.”

Goal: EU migrants who want to claim tax credits and child benefit should first live in the UK for a minimum of four years.

Chances of success: Slim. Eastern European countries say this would amount to discrimination, breaching EU free movement rules.

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