David Cameron will today try to quell a growing rebellion by his Conservative MPs over Europe by publishing a draft Bill to guarantee that an in/out referendum on Europe will be held by 2017.
The move came after Barack Obama urged Tory rebels to give the Prime Minister the space to win a better deal from the EU before Britain decides whether or not to leave it.
The Bill’s timing is designed to limit a revolt in the Commons tomorrow and put pressure on the Liberal Democrats and Labour, who oppose committing now to a referendum some years away.
Speaking at a joint Press conference with Mr Cameron at the White House, the US President made clear that his administration would prefer the UK to remain in the EU club but said the decision is a matter for the British people.
Mr Obama said: “David's basic point — that you probably want to see if you can fix what's broken in a very important relationship before you break it off — makes some sense to me. The UK's participation in the EU is an expression of its influence and its role in the world.”
The dramatic move follows weeks of Tory jousting over how to deal with the issue of Europe.