British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday rejected a charge from his main political rival that his plan to reshape Britain's ties with its European Union partners creates uncertainty for businesses,
In an attempt to quell dissent among some of his own lawmakers and win back Eurosceptic voters who have defected to the anti-EU UK Independence Party, Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain's EU ties before offering a membership referendum in 2017 if he is re-elected next year.
Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labor party, is due later on Monday in a speech to business leaders to warn that political rivals who "flirt" with pulling Britain out of the EU are putting millions of jobs at risk by generating uncertainty.
Speaking at the same event before Miliband, Cameron said consistency was the best way to encourage investment.
"Sometimes people say to me, by raising issues about Europe and European reform, doesn't that make life less predictable? I would argue quite the opposite ... the worst thing for us to do as a country is to pretend this European debate isn't happening," said Cameron.
Cameron said his Conservative-led government had presided over an "extraordinary" period of investment into Britain that showed people were not deterred by the debate over Europe.
"Britain's future in Europe matters to our country and it isn't working properly for us at the moment and that is why we need to make changes," he said. "Simply standing here and just saying 'I will stay in Europe, I will stay with whatever we have, come what may', that is not a strategy."
Miliband, hoping to cash in on unhappiness among some business groups at the possibility that a Conservative election win could see them lose unfettered access to the EU's single market of 500-million people, will say Britain's national interest is being damaged.
"We have seen over the last couple of years that trying to use exit as a threat has simply weakened our influence not strengthened it. And I will not be part of it," he will say, according to extracts of his speech released in advance.
"If I am prime minister I will never risk your businesses, British jobs, or British prosperity by playing political games with our membership of the European Union."