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Support EU referendum or quit: Cameron

June 8, 2015

British PM David Cameron has said his party's lawmakers should either support staying in the EU or quit the government. Tory MPs had said they would campaign for a "Brexit" if Cameron failed on his electoral promises.

David Cameron
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Lecocq

Cameron on Sunday warned rebelling members of his Conservative Party that they had to either support Britain's membership in the European Union or risk leaving his government.

"If you want to be part of the government you have to take the view that we are engaged in an exercise of renegotiation to have a referendum and that will lead to a successful outcome," the leader told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in southern Germany.

"Everyone in government has signed up to the program set out in the Conservative manifesto," he added.

Cameron's spat with his party members began a day ago, when 50 of his own lawmakers threatened to join the campaign for Britain to leave the EU unless the prime minister discussed fresh terms for Britain in the European Union.

Cameron was re-elected prime minister last month after he promised to renegotiate Britain's position within the EU, to include regaining domestic control over the European free market and enforce laws to prevent EU citizens from seeking jobs in Britain.

The leader has also promised to hold a referendum on the outcome of his talks and his country's EU membership by 2017. Some euroskeptic lawmakers feel Cameron's referendum questions are biased in favor of Britain staying in the EU.

"If I can get a position where Britain would be better off in a reformed Europe, then obviously that's not something the government is neutral about," Cameron said.

mg/cmk (Reuters, AFP)

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