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David Cameron is set to announce that Britain's in-or-out referendum on the EU will take place in June next year - 18 months earlier than the deadline he set for himself.
In an exclusive for the Independent on Sunday, political correspondent James Cusick writes that the date could be announced at the Conservative annual conference in October.
The Queen's speech, following May's general election, did not name a date for the referendum, only that it would be before the end of 2017 - a line Downing Street is still officially sticking to.
Cusick reports that the Conservative government wants to hold the referendum sooner rather than later to secure the best possible deal when negotiating the terms of Britain's membership.
The recent turmoil in Greece and the concerted efforts to keep countries within the union is also described as "influential" in the decision.
A 2016 vote would also avoid Britain's demands becoming an issue in the French and German presidential elections in 2017.
The Sindy reports that advisers have told Cameron that he could copy a so-called unionist "vow" which was used in the Scottish referendum.
It would promise a package of reforms provided people vote in favour of staying in.
The government's wish-list includes an opt-out from closer nation-state union inside the EU, changes to migrant benefits and an easing of the way Brussels enforces EU legislation on member states.
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