Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday it would not break his heart if Britain left the European Union, but said his preference was for his country to stay in a reformed EU after a new settlement with Brussels.
Cameron, who has promised to renegotiate Britain's EU membership before offering voters an in-out referendum by 2017, is under pressure from the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) and some of his own lawmakers to toughen his rhetoric on Europe.
When asked about a statement he would have been heartbroken to see Scotland leave the United Kingdom earlier this month, Cameron said: “I feel about a thousand times more strongly about our United Kingdom than I do about the European Union.”
When asked by BBC radio whether it would break his heart to see a British EU exit or "Brexit," he added: “The United Kingdom was an issue of heartbreak. This is a matter of important pragmatism: What is best for our United Kingdom? How do we get the best deal for Britain? That is what I feel strongly about.”
Britain's relationship with the bloc was not working properly, he said, and he wouldn't argue to stay in the EU if it wasn't in the national interest.
However, the best option was for Britain to reform its ties and remain a member, he said.