British businesses urge Cameron to bring EU referendum forward

Government remains reluctant to present membership agreement wishlist

Businesses are urging Prime Minister David Cameron to bring forward the country’s forthcoming European referendum over fears the “out” campaign is gathering steam.

Delays to the vote could leave the “in” campaign in a position where they are exposed to those who want to hit Britain’s political elite where it hurts, business groups argued.

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said there was “at least a 50-50 possibility” that voters would opt to leave the EU, and said that a vote should take place in 2016, the FT reports.

However, Cameron’s public campaign for continued membership of a reformed EU has stalled, as the government has not wanted to outline proposals that in their incomplete form will give fuel to the anti-EU fire.

Instead, the government is waiting to unveil its final list of demands and are reluctant to rush into negotiations with Brussels. This is partly to ensure the demands are met, rather than risk Brussels agreeing to merely cosmetic changes to Britain’s membership.

But as time marches on it is now looking increasingly unlikely that any detailed membership proposals will have been agreed by Christmas – the original target.

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