Cameron 'weasel words' under fire as Tories demand referendum on EU

Senior Tories accused David Cameron yesterday of using ‘weasel words’ to duck a referendum on Europe.

The Prime Minister has infuriated many at the Conservative conference by apparently ruling out a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU – even if the idea is backed by MPs.

He said it was ‘the wrong answer for Britain’. But Tory MPs made their unhappiness plain at fringe events yesterday.

Criticism: Eurosceptic Tories say the Prime Minister cannot ignore calls for an EU referendum

Criticism: Eurosceptic Tories say the Prime Minister cannot ignore calls for an EU referendum

Prominent Eurosceptic Douglas Carswell said it was time for the public to be given a say on Europe.

‘The tide is moving irrevocably towards a referendum, regardless of whether or not the Prime Minister wants one,’ he said.

‘All three parties have promised a referendum within recent memory and there is no getting away from that, whatever weasel words are now being used. This is an issue of trust.’

'This is an issue of trust': Douglas Carswell says a referendum is inevitable

'This is an issue of trust': Douglas Carswell says a referendum is inevitable

At the launch of a book on Conservative thinking, the former Tory leadership contender David Davis warned the European issue could not be ignored.

Mr Davis, who edited the Blue Book, which was featured in the Daily Mail last month, said calls for an EU referendum would ‘go on for the rest of the Parliament’ unless they were met.

‘For a long time Europe has been a technical issue for most of the country, involving things not directly impacting on their lives,’ he added.

‘The eurozone crisis is changing all that because no one thinks we will come out the other end unchanged.’

Former Cabinet minister John Redwood said Mr Cameron should demand a ‘less intrusive and less expensive’ relationship with the EU as the price for agreeing to the treaty changes needed to put the eurozone on a firmer footing.

Bill Cash, chairman of the Commons European scrutiny committee, said it was time to ‘unravel the treaties’ binding the EU together.

‘The British people must be given the right to decide, even though Parliament under the Coalition will try to prevent this,’ he added.

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