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PM: Britain getting closer to decision point

Prime Minister David Cameron said securing the package of proposed reforms to Britain's relationship with the European Union will need hard work and patience but real progress has been made.

He admitted the details would need to be pinned down during the course of the "intense" round of negotiations that will be held in the run up to the meeting of EU leaders later this month.

Mr Cameron said: "I believe we are making real progress in all four areas but the process is far from over.

"There are details that still need to be pinned down and intense negotiations to try and agree the deal with 27 other countries.

"It will require hard work, determination and patience to see it through but I believe that with these draft texts and with all the work we have done with our European partners Britain is getting closer to the decision point."


PM: No date yet fixed for EU referendum

Prime Minister David Cameron has said no date has yet been fixed for the EU referendum.

SNP Leader and MP for Moray Angus Robertson asked Mr Cameron whether he would commit to not holding the referendum in June as it would clash with elections in Scotland.

In PMQS, Mr Robertson asked: "Today the First Ministers of Scotland, of Wales and of Northern Ireland have jointly called for a commitment by the UK Government not to hold the EU referendum in June which would clash with the elections to the desolved legislatives. Will the Prime Minister give that commitment today?"

Mr Cameron replied: "There is no agreement and so date has yet been fixed for the referendum."

PM: Good deal with Europe will help Britain's success

David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron has told PMQs he believes Britain will succeed more as a country if a good deal is struck with Europe.

"I believe we will succeed more as a country if we get a good deal in Europe and stay in a reformed Europe," he said.

First ministers urge change of EU referendum date

The first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have urged the prime minister to delay the date of the EU referendum Credit: Reuters

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish first ministers have written to David Cameron to express concerns about the possibility of a referendum on EU membership in June.

The joint letter points to elections taking place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on 5 May, which it says could confuse issues "at a moment when clarity is required" as the referendum campaign will run in parallel with those elections.

It also warns parties in those countries will struggle to plan for and work together on referendum campaigns given the cross-over.

We believe that the European Referendum is of vital importance to the future of the whole United Kingdom and the debate leading up to it should, therefore, be free of other campaigning distraction.

– Letter signed by Nicola Sturgeon, Arlene Foster, Martin McGuinness and Carwyn Jones

The letter - also signed by deputy first minister of Northern Ireland - calls for the EU referendum to be deferred until later in the year.

Osborne: Reforms will strengthen Britain's position in EU

Chancellor George Osborne Credit: PA

Chancellor George Osborne has said an agreement based on the EU reform proposals would strengthen Britain's position in the union.

During a visit to Rome, he said: "The president of the European Council set out proposals which I think both strengthen the European Union and strengthen Britain's position in the European Union and addresses some of the concerns Britain has had about the European Union, the result of which, I think, if we can get an agreement in the coming weeks, will lead to a stronger, more reformed Europe that Britain can be part of."


Europe 'playing catch-up' with migration crisis

David Miliband has said European leaders were either unable or unwilling to deal with migration before it became a crisis on European shores.

Speaking at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the former Labour Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said Europe was now playing catch-up with the migration crisis.

David Miliband says leaving the EU will not protect the UK from the migration crisis Credit: Jonathan Brady / PA

On the prospect of Brexit, he also warned that leaving the EU would not protect the UK from the migrant crisis, and that the UK could cope with taking more than the 4,000 refugees David Cameron has promised to allow in.

ITV News' correspondent Emma Murphy has been following the speech at Chatham House.

Irish Prime Minister calls 26 February general election

Enda Kenny's coalition is seeking additional support in the upcoming election Credit: Reuters

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has called a general election for February 26.

His coalition government is seeking to win over the additional support needed for re-election and avoid a possible political deadlock.

Mr Kenny said the new Dail, or lower house of parliament, will sit again on March 10.

"I am going to make my way to Aras an Uachtarain (the president's residence) to ask the President to dissolve Dail Eireann (parliament)," the Irish Prime minister announced.

Liam Fox: Up to five Cabinet ministers will vote to leave EU

Liam Fox Credit: PA

Up to five Cabinet ministers will campaign for Britain to leave the European Union and David Cameron should allow them to speak out now, the former defence secretary has said.

Eurosceptic Liam Fox warned David Cameron risked creating a lasting split in the Conservative party if he suppressed opposition to the EU until after any deal was done.

He told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: "I think there will be a number of Cabinet ministers with a range of different responsibilities who will want to be in the Leave camp. I don't know exactly how many, but I can think of four or five for certain."

He added: "If the Prime Minister has already decided that the draft deal is enough for him to campaign, to go out there selling the deal, then it should be for others who don't agree with that to make their own case.

"I think the danger of treating the two sides differently is that it will make it more difficult for us to come together after the referendum."

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