In/out EU referendum ‘unlikely’ in 2015 – Cameron

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (Reuters / Christian Hartmann)
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said there was a “pretty slim” chance he could hold a referendum on the country's membership of the European Union in 2015.

Cameron, who has promised a referendum in 2017 if he is re-elected in May, said the chance of a vote this year would be “pretty slim.”

“I've said there will be a re-negotiation and then a referendum – obviously the sooner that re-negotiation can get done the better and quite frankly the chances of doing that inside 2015 after an election in May is pretty slim,” he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.

“I'm going to spend the next 50 odd days campaigning for a Conservative majority government. I think it can be done. If I fall short you can ask me the next day what I'll do about it.”

Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU, as many Eurosceptic are leaning towards the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP).

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His comments come after UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he would want a vote to be held in 2015 if UKIP went into coalition with the Tories.

“I want a full and fair referendum to be held in 2015 to allow Britons to vote on being in or out of the EU,” he said.

“It is my strong belief that the four million EU citizens living in the UK without British passports should not be allowed to [vote in the UK],” he told the Sunday Telegraph.

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“And yes, that includes my German wife. They are eligible to vote in European elections, but they should not have the right to decide on Britain's future in the EU. It may be that that would require us to do battle with the European Court of Justice – but so be it.”

EU President Donald Tusk warned on Sunday that Cameron's plans to amend EU treaties to create a new deal for Britain in Europe were “mission impossible.”

“My intuition is that treaty change is close to mission impossible today because it's not only about rationality, about good argument,” Tusk told the Guardian.

“We need unanimity between 28 member states, in the European parliament, in 28 national parliaments in the process of ratification. To say that it is a Pandora's Box is too little.”

With less than two months to go before the general election, the Tories are two points ahead of the Labour Party (31 percent and 29 percent respectively) according to the latest Lord Ashcroft opinion poll.