Referendum on Britain's EU membership in 2016

  • 26/07/2015
British Prime Minister David Cameron (Reuters)
British Prime Minister David Cameron (Reuters)

British Prime Minister David Cameron intends to hold a referendum on the country's membership of the European Union around June next year.

"The Independent on Sunday has learned that Mr Cameron has decided to pencil in June of next year," the newspaper reported, citing an anonymous source.

A spokeswoman for Cameron's Downing Street office declined to comment on the report, which said the prime minister would announce the timing of the referendum during the annual conference of his Conservative party in October.

A comment from the Conservative party was not immediately available.

Cameron has promised to re-negotiate the terms of Britain's membership of the 28-member block before holding a referendum by the end of 2017.

Recent turmoil in Greece that raised the possibility of the country exiting the eurozone influenced the decision to hold an earlier vote, which would stop Britain's referendum becoming a political issue in French and German elections in 2017, the Independent on Sunday reported.

Cameron has said he will campaign in favour of remaining in the EU, but is pushing for changes on the ability of EU citizens to claim welfare in Britain, increased powers for London and the ability to opt out of closer political integration.

Legislation paving the way for the referendum passed its first hurdle in parliament last month but still needs to be approved by the House of Lords.