Britain may opt out of EU, says Cameron

London, Dec 18 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted for the first time that he was imagining the country quitting the European Union (EU).

He mentioned the prospect of Britain pulling out of the EU after some parliamentarians grilled him about last week's Brussels summit, The Sun reported.

In the Commons, the prime minister was asked by Labour MP Gavin Shuker if he could ever imagine Britain quitting the EU, which joined the grouping in 1973.

"That is not a position I support, so I do not spend my time thinking about it," Daily Mail quoted Cameron as saying Monday night, but adding: "Clearly, all futures for Britain are imaginable. We are in charge of our own destiny, we can make our own choices."

"I believe the choice we should make is to stay in the European Union, to be members of the single market, to maximise our impact in Europe. But where we are unhappy with parts of the relationship we shouldn't be frightened of standing up and saying so."

Cameron, however, stressed withdrawal was not his "preference". He wanted Britain to stay on in the EU and to renegotiate relations with the EU -- based in Belgium -- to seize back key powers.

The British prime minister said he would make a long-awaited speech in January, spelling out his EU vision.

Cameron is preparing to offer a referendum on Britain's future in Europe in a speech next month.

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