London, Feb 20 (IANS) Britain will vote on whether to remain in the European Union on June 23, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Cameron made his announcement in Downing Street after briefing the cabinet, BBC reported.
He said that the government’s position was to recommend that Britain remains in the EU once the referendum goes underway.
The decision to hold a referendum still has to be formalised by the British parliament, but it is widely expected to be adopted since Cameron’s Conservative party holds the majority.
Cameron would campaign to remain in a reformed EU. He described the vote as one of the biggest decisions “in our lifetimes”.
“My recommendation is clear. I believe that Britain will be safer, stronger and better off in a reformed European Union,” he said.
A string of ministers have come out in favour of remaining — but others will campaign against Cameron.
Cameron warned that leaving the European Union would be a “leap in the dark” as he urged voters to back his reforms deal.
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.
Leave campaigners also hope London Mayor Boris Johnson will join their cause — but he is yet to declare where he stands.
Cameron claims his EU reforms deal — hammered out at a two-day summit in Brussels — will give 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”.
Despite vows by Cameron to campaign in full-out efforts for Britain to remain in the EU, the outcome of the referendum is far from certain as opinion polls indicated that British voters are evenly divided, and even many senior members of the Tory party declared support for the “Leave EU” campaign.