In January, I set out our party’s position on Europe. I made clear that the EU needed fundamental, far reaching change – and that Britain would lead the way in negotiating that reform.
I also promised an In-Out referendum once those negotiations were complete, and at any event by the end of 2017. That’s the right time to have a vote – it is wrong to ask people whether to stay or go before we have had a chance to put the relationship right.
But make no mistake – my commitment to a referendum is absolute. If I am Prime Minister after the next election, there will be an In-Out referendum. No ifs, no buts. And before the 2015 election, we will do everything we can to make it the law.
That’s why today the Conservative Party is publishing a draft bill that would legislate for a referendum by the end of 2017. We understand that we are in a Coalition government – but we are going to examine every opportunity to bring it before Parliament and try to get it on the statute book.
For too long the British people have had no say about their future in Europe. I am absolutely determined to put that right. Our action today is further proof we’re serious.