Low-cost flights and cheap calls abroad at risk if we leave the EU, Cameron warns as he now talks up the benefits of Brussels
- Prime Minister tells Eurosceptics to focus on the 'benefits' of Brussels
- Cheap air travel among the 'biggest changes' seen in the past 20 years
- Argues Britain can 'have the best of both worlds' in a reformed EU
Cheap flights and low charges for using mobiles on holiday could be put at risk if Britain leaves the European Union, David Cameron has suggested.
The Prime Minister said people who have doubts about Britain's relationship with Europe should focus on the 'tangible consumer benefits' of being part of the 28-nation bloc.
He argued that he wants to 'have the best of both worlds', enjoying the benefits of being in the EU while opting out of rules which could harm Britain.
Cheap flights and low charges for using mobiles on holiday could be put at risk if Britain leaves the European Union, David Cameron has suggested
Mr Cameron has been forced to commit to publishing his key demands for reform of the EU within the next fortnight after EU leaders said they had been left in the dark.
The government is committed to holding an in-out referendum by the end of 2017, with the Prime Minister focussing on four key areas: ensuring UK sovereignty, improving competitiveness, protecting economies not in the Eurozone and curbing benefits for migrants.
He has previously threatened that he could campaign to leave the EU if he does not get a good deal, insisting he will 'rule nothing out'.
However, in a marked change of tone Mr Cameron has begun to emphasise the benefits of being in the EU as it currently stands – contrasting arcane debates in Parliament about the wording of treaties with the real-life savings for families.
'If people who are wondering about Britain's relationship with Europe want to see some tangible consumer benefits rather than the arcane things that we can talk about in this House,' he told MPs last night.
The availability of cheap air travel in Europe have probably been among the biggest changes we have seen in the past 20 years
Prime Minister David Cameron
He said this included cuts in air fares and the 'open skies policy' which lets European and American airlines to fly between the two continents without restrictions.
'The availability of cheap air travel in Europe have probably been among the biggest changes we have seen in the past 20 years,' he added.
'I hope that the agreement we have recently come to on getting rid of roaming charges will make it much cheaper for holidaymakers and Britons to use their mobile phones abroad.
'We need to focus on some of these things.'
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed the issue of the UK's in-out referendum had been 'deferred yet again' to the December European Council meeting.
But Mr Cameron hit back: 'That is simply not the case. This process was launched in June, as I always said it would be, although people doubted it would happen.
'There was always going to be an update in October, and then a full discussion in December - and that is exactly what is happening.'
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed the issue of the UK's in-out referendum had been 'deferred yet again' to the December European Council meeting
Tory arch Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash said one of Mr Cameron's principal demands from the EU - to pull Britain out of the commitment to 'ever closer union' - would in practice make little difference.
The European Scrutiny Committee chairman said: 'Will you recognise that even if the words 'ever closer union' were to be removed from treaties for the future this will not change any of our existing EU obligations and laws, nor fundamentally change our relationship with the EU under existing treaties?'
Mr Cameron replied: 'I think the issue of ever closer union is important both symbolically and legally.
'Important symbolically because I think the British people always felt we were told we were joining a common market and we were never really told enough about this political union which we've never been happy with.
'I want to make it explicit that for us it is principally a common market and not an ever closer union.
'But it does have legal force because ever closer union has been used by the courts to enforce centralising judgments and I want that to change.'