Britain's Cameron rejects in/out EU referendum for now

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 16, 2013 7:19 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday he did not favor holding an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union for now, but said he felt it was right to renegotiate its role in the bloc.

"I don't think it would be right for Britain to have an in/out referendum today because I think we would be giving the British people a false choice," Cameron told parliament.

Cameron was answering questions on Europe ahead of a long-awaited speech he will deliver on Friday in the Netherlands in which he will set out his EU stance.

"Millions of people in this country, myself included, want Britain to stay in the European Union, but they believe there are chances to negotiate a better relationship," said Cameron.

Asked by Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband if Britain would still be inside the EU in five years, Cameron repeated that he thought Britain was "better off in the EU".

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Cameron, who wants to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership and put the result to the electorate in a referendum, reiterated that he would not take Britain into Europe's single currency.

Some EU leaders and diplomats are anxious about the prospect of Cameron trying to reshape his country's relationship with the bloc and fear Britain may be drifting away from it.

(Reporting by Peter Griffiths and Andrew Osborn)