British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday played down the prospect of a near-term referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.
Cameron says he wants Britain to remain in the EU - a major trading partner - but is under intense pressure from his own party and an increasingly eurosceptic public to repatriate powers from Brussels or leave the 27-member bloc altogether. "If we had an in-out referendum tomorrow, or very shortly, I don't think that would be the right answer for the simple reason that I think we would be giving people a false choice", he said.
Cameron says he plans to renegotiate Britain's ties with the EU and seek the public's fresh consent for the new deal, telling the BBC he believes he has allies in his efforts to repatriate more powers from Brussels. He also made clear that while he did not think Britain would "collapse" if it left the EU, it would be in Britain's interests to remain in the bloc.
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