Tories must give voters 'greater certainty' over EU

Home Secretary Theresa May says Conservative voters need to know the party's stance on membership of the European Union.
Home Secretary Theresa May says Conservative voters need to know the party's stance on membership of the European Union. Credit: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Conservatives must give voters "greater certainty" that they will be given a say on Britain's membership of the European Union, Home Secretary Theresa May acknowledged today.

After the Tories suffered heavy losses to the UK Independence Party in the council elections, Mrs May said it was essential voters believed the party would honour its promise to hold an in/out referendum on EU membership after the next general election.

However she rejected calls from some senior Conservatives to bring forward the date of the referendum and stage it in this parliament in order to finally kill off the appeal of Ukip to Tory voters.

She said that it was important that they stood by David Cameron's plan to re-negotiate the terms of Britain's membership and then put the new settlement to the country.

"If you want to take a re-negotiated settlement to the British people, you have got to re-negotiate it," she told the BBC Radio 4 Today.

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Hague: No change of course

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the Tories do not need a "drastic change of course" to win the next election, despite recent local election results. Meanwhile, 20 Tory MPs want an EU referendum before 2017, The Sunday Telegraph reported.