David Cameron commits to fighting to keep Britain in EU

British PM indicates he has watered down demands to try to secure a deal at summit

British prime minister David Cameron has given his strongest indication that he is determined to keep Britain in the EU as he said there is "no doubt" that the UK gains from its membership.

As the two groups preparing to fight in the EU referendum prepare to launch their campaigns, Mr Cameron indicated that he has again watered down his demands to try to secure a deal at a European summit in December.

Mr Cameron also suggested that cabinet ministers may be given the right to campaign on either side in the referendum in an echo of the decision made by Harold Wilson in the 1975 referendum on Britain's membership of the EEC.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, Mr Cameron said he understood the frustration of some pro-Europeans, voiced by the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in an Observer interview, that the wider arguments in favour of the EU are rarely aired as ministers focus on the UK renegotiations. Mr Cameron said: "I am trying to get for Britain the things that we need. Obviously once I've got them then I will turn around and make the case for staying in a reformed Europe."


Tax credits

Mr Cameron outlined reform plans but cast them in more general language. He spoke of the need to ensure that EU workers should only be able to claim UK benefits, such as tax credits, after paying into the British system. But he did not mention his proposal to prevent EU migrants from claiming in-work benefits for their first four years in Britain.

In some of his most pro-European comments, Mr Cameron spoke of the wider benefits of EU membership as he said he would never be able to satisfy arch-Eurosceptics.

–(Guardian service)