David Cameron has warned that Britain will “drift towards the exit” if the European Union does not change.
The Prime Minister raised the prospect of the whole EU’s failure as he delivered one of the defining speeches of his premiership.
Speaking in London, he insisted he does not want Britain to leave the Union and that he wants it to be a success.
But effectively issuing an ultimatum to Brussels, he said: “The danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit.”
Mr Cameron called for “fundamental, far-reaching change” as he admitted that the “EU is seen as something that is done to people, rather than acting on their behalf.”
However, he also warned: “I never want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world. I am not a British isolationist but I do want a better deal for Britain.”
Later in the address, the PM will promise to stage a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU if the Conservatives win the next general election.
“It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics,” he will declare.
Many Tory MPs hope the referendum pledge will be a turning point in the battle to win power in 2015.
The speech by the Tory leader has been months in the planning and comes as Conservatives are increasingly restive.
It should have been delivered last Friday but was postponed because of the Algerian hostage crisis.
More to follow…