LONDON (AFP) - British voters will be asked to vote "Yes" or "No" on remaining in the European Union in a referendum to be held by the end of 2017, media reported on Wednesday.
The first indications of the style of the question emerged as Prime Minister David Cameron's government prepares to publish the bill paving the way for the referendum the day after Wednesday's Queen's Speech.
This is when Queen Elizabeth II outlines the government's legislative programme to parliament in a speech written for her by the new government.
Cameron, who won a surprise outright majority at this month's general election, promised two years ago - under pressure from eurosceptics - to hold a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU.
The BBC and other media reported that, while the precise wording of the referendum question has still to be decided, it would be along the lines of "Should Britain remain a member of the EU?" That would allow those fighting to stay in Europe run a "Yes" campaign, seen as an advantage as it allows them to present a positive argument.
The EU referendum bill, which is due to be published on Thursday, is expected to keep open the prospect of a vote next year - which Cameron has not ruled out - but not include a date for the ballot.
Parliament could start debating the bill as early as June, media reported.
After he addresses the House of Commons on the Queen's Speech Wednesday, Cameron will begin a whirlwind diplomatic offensive, meeting the leaders of five European countries, including Germany, France and Poland, on Thursday and Friday.
He is seeking a string of reforms to the EU before the referendum, including on benefits payments to migrants which he says will require treaty changes.
If Cameron can secure these, he says he will campaign in favour of Britain, the EU's second-biggest economy, remaining part of the 28-nation bloc.