Route to Europe referendum

David Cameron tried to set the record straight today on his position on Europe. He told MPs that "the status quo was not acceptable" but it was wrong to rule out any referendum in future.

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'PM's promise of EU referendum hard to believe'

Conservative MP Peter Bone told Channel 4 News today that the Prime Minister's promise of an EU referendum is "difficult to believe". Mr Bone said:

I think the British people will find it very difficult to believe any party leader who goes into the next election with a manifesto promise of an EU referendum, because let's face it none of them have delivered it.

We want to see legislation in this parliament so that there would definitely be a referendum in the next parliament. That's what the British people want.

Tory MP calls for commitment from Cameron

Tory MP John Baron, who organised a letter from Conservative backbenchers to Mr Cameron calling for a referendum after 2015, has demanded a commitment from the Prime Minister.

He said "I welcome the fact he is now talking about a referendum, but you will notice he hasn't promised one and that he is justifying that position by suggesting now is not a good time for an in-out referendum.

"That's not what we have called for in our letter.

"We have simply called for a commitment to be put on the statute book in this parliament for a referendum in the next parliament.

"That would give us time to have an informed debate about what the referendum should be about, the exact wording. It would also give time for the eurozone crisis to play out."

Best discussed once future of Europe is known

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves said Labour would hold a referendum once Europe's future becomes clearer Credit: David Jones/PA Archive

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves said Labour would hold a referendum when Britain's relationship with a revamped eurozone becomes clearer.

She said: "That's fine to have that discussion in the future when we know what the future of Europe looks like, when we know what that relationship between the eurozone countries and the non-eurozone countries looks like.

"Once we know what the eurozone looks like we can have a discussion about whether it is appropriate to have a referendum."

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UK no closer to a referendum, says Ukip leader

Heard it all before, according to Ukip leader Nigel Farage Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Britain is no closer to getting a referendum on the EU, according to the leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip), Nigel Farage.

He said: "We've heard it all before. "What he's done here is give some vague promise that there might be a referendum in the future, but it will not be about our membership of the EU.

Speaking on BBC1's Sunday Politics Show, he added: "If he thinks by doing that that he's shot Ukip's fox and he's buried this issue in the long grass, he's in for another think."

Mr Farage told Tory MPs demanding an in-out referendum they were "in the wrong party"."The only way we are going to get change in this country, the only way we are going to get an in/out referendum, is if Ukip is stronger than it is today," he said.

David Cameron's 'weakness' outlined

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has branded David Cameron's possibility of an EU referendum as a sign of 'weakness'.

He said:

"These latest statements about the possibility of an EU referendum reveal more about David Cameron's present weakness than his future plans.

"Ruling out a referendum one day and then ruling it back in again the next looks like a Prime Minister spending more time managing his party than leading the country.

"David Cameron seems to be more concerned with securing headlines about Europe than securing vital reforms within Europe."

Lib Dems: Cameron speaking for Tory party only

The Liberal Democrats said David Cameron was speaking as Conservative leader regarding an EU referendum, and not for the coalition as a whole.

A Liberal Democrats spokesman said:

"David Cameron has set out his views as Conservative Party leader about possible referenda following the 2015 elections, which he is perfectly entitled to do.

"However, the Liberal Democrats do not believe that there is much public appetite at the moment for an abstract discussion about a referendum on an undefined question at an unspecified time in a future parliament.

"Liberal Democrats think the public want something more concrete than that. That is why we supported legislation which provides a cast iron guarantee that a referendum will be held should there be any proposal to transfer sovereignty from the UK to the EU at any time in the future, whether in this parliament or the next."We believe that is the sensible way to approach the issue of referenda, but we understand the internal divisions in the Conservative Party that give rise to this sort of debate."

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