David Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union if the Conservatives are re-elected in the next general election.
The prime minister said that British people ‘must have their say’ on whether the country remains in the EU and the referendum would take place early in the next parliament and by the end of 2017 at the latest.
Cameron said it would be inappropriate to hold the referendum now with the uncertainty surrounding the eurozone and the prospect of significant change to its structure. He also reiterated his goal of renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU, saying national governments should have a stronger say in their own affairs, highlighting growing disillusionment with the extent of Brussels’ influence.
‘It is time to settle this European question in British politics,’ he said. ‘I say to the British people, this will be your decision.’
The FTSE 100 was flat in early morning trading, seemingly unperturbed by Cameron's announcement, but sterling fell 0.15% against the dollar at $1.5811, although this was also in part due to nervousness around UK economic data due later in the morning.