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David Cameron has said the British people must “have their say” on Europe as he pledged an in/out referendum if the Conservatives win the election, the BBC reported. The prime minister said he wanted to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU, before giving the “simple choice” of a vote on accepting the result of the talks or leaving the EU. The news was welcomed by eurosceptics who have long campaigned for a vote. In his long-awaited speech, welcomed by many Conservative MPs, Mr Cameron pledged to hold a referendum during the early part of the next parliament – by the end of 2017 at the latest – if the Conservatives win the next general election. He said it would be a decision on the UK’s “destiny” and, if he secured a new relationship he was happy with, he would campaign “heart and soul” to stay within the EU. “It is time for the British people to have their say,” he said. “It is time to settle this European question in British politics. I say to the British people: this will be your decision.” However, Mr Cameron did not spell out what powers he would like to see the UK take back as part of a new settlement or what would happen if the negotiations did not go his way. The Conservative leader has been under pressure from many of his MPs to give a binding commitment to a vote on Europe. Mr Cameron said “disillusionment” with the EU was “at an all time high” and “simply asking the British people to carry on accepting a European settlement over which they have had little choice” was likely to accelerate calls for the UK to leave.Mr Cameron said he “understood the appeal” of Britain going it alone and he was sure the UK would survive outside the EU. But, he said, the UK must think “very carefully” about the implications of withdrawal for its prosperity and role on the international stage.The prime minister rejected suggestions that a new relationship was “impossible to achieve”, adding that he would prefer all other EU countries to agree a new treaty but would be prepared to seek negotiations on a unilateral basis. However French foreign minister Laurent Fabius warned “you can’t do Europe a la carte… to take an example which our British friends will understand – imagine Europe is a football club and you join, once you’re in it you can’t say ‘let’s play rugby’”. German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said Germany wanted the UK to “remain an active and constructive part of the European Union… but cherry picking is not an option” before adding that Europe needed more, not less, integration.