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Leaders clash on EU

Leaders clash on EU
David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed over Europe today as the Prime Minister faces a series of demands from his backbenchers.

Mr Miliband said the Tory promise of a referendum in five years' time could jeopardise the UK's business prospects and lead to "five years of businesses seeing a closed-for-business sign hanging around Britain".

The Labour leader also accused the Prime Minister of losing control of his party: "It's the same old Tories; a divided party and a weak prime minister."

But Mr Cameron insisted that British business backed his policy and said Labour was afraid of debating the issue of Europe.

Mr Cameron warned that it would be dangerous for Britain to "bury our head in the sand" and pretend there was no debate happening about Europe.

He said there will be a clear choice over Europe at the next election: "There will be a very simple choice at the next election, if you want to stay out of the single currency you vote Conservative, if you want to go into the single currency you vote Labour...

"If you want to give power to Brussels, you vote Labour...He wants absolutely no change in Britain's relationship with Europe and he doesn't want to give the British people a choice."

Catch up on all the PMQs action from our liveblog.

A group of Conservative MPs is demanding that Mr Cameron claw back powers from Europe, saying “the status quo is no longer an option”.

An alternative manifesto for Europe by the Fresh Start group of Tory backbenchers is being billed as a blueprint for EU membership by senior party figures.

The group are demanding "significant revisions" to EU treaties, arguing for the return of control over all social and employment law, including the working time directive.

Downing Street today indicated that the Prime Minister would refuse to bow to some of the demands.

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said: "Some aspects are government policy, some may be policy in the future and some may not be but they are a very interesting contribution to the debate."

The spokesman also revealed that Mr Cameron's key Europe speech, to be delivered on Friday, was "mostly finished".

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that Mr Cameron will tell Tory Cabinet ministers that they are free to campaign for Britain to exit the EU. The Prime Minister refused to confirm or deny the report at PMQs today.

Green Box: Leaders clash on EUClick to open

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