Britain's Cameron plays down prospect of in-out EU referendum

LONDON Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:29am EST

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LONDON Jan 14 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday played down the prospect of a near-term referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, ahead of a long-awaited speech on the issue he is expected to deliver next week.

Cameron told BBC radio an in-out referendum soon would be a "false choice", and made clear that although he did not think Britain would "collapse" if it left the EU, it was in Britain's interests to stay in the 27-member bloc.

Cameron says he plans to renegotiate Britain's ties with the EU and seek the public's fresh consent for the new deal. He told the BBC he believes he has allies in his efforts to repatriate more powers from Brussels.

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