Monday, October 29, 2012

A rock and a hard place

Cameron has a problem, he wants to cosy up to his EU 'friends' by allowing the UK's contribution to go up in line with inflation, despite the EU (as ever) wanting more. He no doubt thinks it's a good compromise, unfortunately a lot of his party don't and he may be relying on the Lib Dems to get him through against a pretty strong opposition. Thing is though if as many Tory rebels do oppose the measure he's proposing are supported by the Labour MP's, there is no way Cameron can win this.
David Cameron faces a fresh rebellion as Tory backbenchers launch attempt to block any increase in the EU's budget in the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister has signalled he will allow Britain's contribution to the EU budget rise in line with inflation to around £13.6 billion a year.
Other European countries will push for an even bigger increase when leaders meet at a summit in November but many within the Tory party and Labour are demanding a real-terms cut.
Mr Cameron will try to get his position on the EU budget approved in parliament on Wednesday, but this may be derailed as Tory eurosceptics are preparing to put up a fight.
Mark Pritchard, MP for the Wrekin, has filed an amendment calling for the Prime Minister to stand up to a wasteful EU, which has flatly refused to cut costs and staff. Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, has a separate amendment calling for a real-terms cut in the budget.
The debate will put Mr Cameron in a difficult position, facing opposition from each side of the political spectrum from the hard-right to Labour.
Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, and Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, said last night that no extra money at all should flow to Europe. Liam Fox, the standard-bearer of the Tory right, will make a similar argument in a speech today.
When you are facing financial straits the first thing you ought to be looking for is trimming the fat off your budget. Cameron failed with an obvious own goal on foreign aid and now looks to be facing similar embarrassment over the EU (another form of foreign aid). There is an awful lot this government could actually do to cut costs, most of which they are failing to do. Not that Labour have much to gloat about as most of the costs the government could or should be cutting are directly attributable to them with banking bail outs and private financing initiatives.
Still it would be a pretty good indicator on the Tory side at least to see just how many of the so called rebels would be available as an opposition should in the future Cameron or Milliband opt for some form of referenda on the EU.
I suspect the whips in all parties are going to be busy, busy, busy right up until the vote.
Hopefully though the EU budget will be given a bit of a black eye...

2 annotations:

Dioclese said...

Regretably,I am not holding my breath...

Anonymous said...

The answer is fairly simple. All devious Dave has to do is to agree to pay the increase, once the accounts of the EU have been signed off by the auditors - as this has not happened once in the last 17 years, it can be assumed that an increase of contributions will not take place soon!