A Conservative government could hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union earlier than the proposed date of 2017, says Prime Minister David Cameron.
According to the Telegraph, Cameron says it could be possible to call the vote ahead of schedule providing negotiations to change the EU treaty go to plan.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he warned serving Cabinet ministers would have to quit the Government if they wanted to campaign to leave a union which had been reformed on the terms he hopes to achieve.
Asked if the referendum could be held before 2017, Cameron said: “Absolutely, the referendum must take place before the end of 2017.
“If we could do that earlier, I would be delighted. The sooner I can deliver on it the better.”
He did not rule out quitting the EU altogether if the negotiations did not go well.
There were reports last month that as many as nine Cabinet ministers want to be given free rein to campaign for Britain to leave the EU.
Cameron said: “There are Conservative MPs who want to leave the EU come what may, but if you’re part of the Government, then clearly you’re part of the team that is aiming for the renegotiation referendum.”