“The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament. And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum.
Legislation will be drafted before the next election. And if a Conservative Government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year. And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament.
It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.
With courage and conviction I believe we can deliver a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union in which the interests and ambitions of all its members can be met. With courage and conviction I believe we can achieve a new settlement in which Britain can be comfortable and all our countries can thrive.
I believe something very deeply. That Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union. And that such a European Union is best with Britain in it.
Over the coming weeks, months and years, I will not rest until this debate is won. For the future of my country. For the success of the European Union. And for the prosperity of our peoples for generations to come.”
The time has come, in five years time.