Britain will hold a historic referendum on whether to stay in the European Union on June 23, Prime Minister David Cameron announced today, a day after securing a summit deal for European Union reforms.
Making his historic statement in Downing Street after briefing the cabinet on his EU reform deal, Cameron said, “The vote would be one of the biggest decisions this country will face in our lifetimes.”
He said he would be campaigning to remain in a reformed 28-nation bloc.
The Prime Minister warned that leaving the EU would be a “leap in the dark” as he appealed to voters to back his reform deal.
A string of ministers have come out in favour of remaining - but others will campaign against Cameron.
Home Secretary Theresa May heads the list of those who have announced they will campaign to stay - but Justice Secretary Michael Gove has signed up to the leave campaign, the BBC reported.
Leave campaigners are also hoping London Mayor Boris Johnson will join their cause - but he has yet to declare where he stands.
Cameron said that his EU reform deal, hammered out at a two-day summit in Brussels, will give the Britain “special status” within the bloc, tackling concerns over migrants getting “something for nothing” from the benefit system and exempting the country from the EU drive for “ever closer union”.
He argued that Britain would be “safer, stronger and better off” in the EU.
“Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security,” he said.
The date of the referendum still has to be formalised by parliament, where Cameron will deliver a speech on Monday.