Miliband plays down EU poll talk

Ed Miliband has sought to play down speculation that he will promise a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union if he takes power - insisting it was not his priority.

The Opposition leader was reported at the weekend to be facing strong internal pressure to make an early pledge to hold an in/out vote if he wins the next general election.

Senior party figures - including shadow chancellor Ed Balls - have publicly discussed the potential for a public vote at some point in the future.

And Mr Miliband's appointment of Jon Cruddas, who has backed calls for a referendum, to lead the party's policy review heightened speculation that the move would be endorsed by the leadership.

But aides said he told the weekly behind-closed-doors meeting of the party's MPs and peers that he would not get "carried away" about the issue.

"Let me say one thing about the in/out referendum: our focus is on growth and jobs," he was quoted as telling the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

"Some people outside are getting carried away. We are not going to get carried away - we are going to keep our focus on what matters in people's lives and that is jobs and growth."

Backing an in-out vote is seen as a means of placing pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, who faces demands from eurosceptic backbenchers to promise voters a say.