The Prime Minister said that his Coalition deal with the pro-European Liberal Democrats means the Government cannot introduce legislation paving the way for a vote on Europe after the next election.
Mr Cameron’s comments on legislation, in a private letter to Conservative MPs, come only days after he dropped a pre-election hint that he was prepared to consider the option.
The admission came as the Conservative debate about Europe intensified over a suggestion from Lord Lawson of Blaby, a former Chancellor, that Britain should now leave the EU.
Mr Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on the UK relationship with the EU in the next Parliament, if he is re-elected.
That promise has not curbed the rise of the UK Independence Party, and some Conservative MPs say that is because voters do not believe Mr Cameron’s pledge.
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