The Labour leader demanded that Cameron gives more than “broad hints” about which reforms he wants, how he expects to achieve them and what people will be voting on if the Conservatives regain power and hold a referendum.
Miliband has not talked much about the EU in the election campaign so far, given his party’s continued belief that there is no need for a referendum unless there is a fresh transfer of powers to Brussels.
However, his position is one of Labour’s strength with the pro-EU business community, which it has been helpful to highlight when Miliband’s critics accuse him of being anti-business.
In the letter to Cameron, Miliband wrote: “I am writing today to urge you to make good on your commitment to set out in detail a reform agenda for the EU and a strategy for building the alliances needed to deliver it.
“You should not expect to get through the coming election without letting businesses and voters know the details of a plan which risks jobs, exports, and inward investment. You should not go through this election campaign without saying which side you would be on in a referendum.”
The prime minister did not respond but Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman, wrote Miliband a letter saying there was “no greater uncertainty for business and families than when the last Labour government left Britain on its knees”.
“Under the Conservatives, we’ve seen manufacturing returning to our shores, the fastest growth in the developed world and a record number of people with jobs,” he said.
“We’ll give the British people the say they deserve with an in/out referendum. Ed Miliband is too weak to even do that.”
Cameron has promised to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 but may come under pressure to get it out of the way earlier.
This article was written by Rowena Mason, political correspondent, for theguardian.com on Thursday 19th February 2015 23.07 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010