British Prime Minister sets June 23 date for Britain's in/out EU referendum
Published 20/02/2016 | 12:49
David Cameron warned that leaving the European Union would be a "leap in the dark" as he urged voters to back his reform deal.
Speaking in Downing Street after briefing the Cabinet, the Prime Minister said that the promised in/out referendum would take place on June 23.
He confirmed that the Cabinet had backed his plan but that individual ministers would be free to campaign on either side.
Following his return overnight from his marathon EU negotiating session, the Prime Minister said that leaving would threaten Britain's "economic and national security".
"Those who want to leave Europe cannot tell you if British businesses would be able to access Europe's free trade single market, or if working people's jobs are safe, or how much prices would rise. All they're offering is a risk at a time of uncertainty - a leap in the dark," he said.
Among the first ministers to declare they would be campaigning for an "in" vote were Home Secretary Theresa May, Business Secretary Sajid Javid, International Development Secretary Justine Greening and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
Among the first to exploit the freedom to break ranks and declare in favour of Brexit was Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, who made clear the PM had not secured sufficient reforms to win her support.
"I want to be absolutely clear - I will be voting to leave the EU," she said on her website.
"This is not a decision that I have made quickly or easily, as I have been a strong advocate for reform within Europe for many years."