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David Cameron suffers stinging defeat over Europe

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David Cameron suffers stinging defeat over Europe

Post  Panda on Thu 1 Nov - 8:56


Thursday 01 November 2012

David Cameron suffers stinging defeat over Europe

David Cameron suffered a stinging Commons defeat over Europe as Conservative backbenchers told him he must deliver real reductions in the European Union budget.

Mr Cameron will be under intense pressure to take a harder line in talks on the EU budget Photo: REX

By James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor

8:23PM GMT 31 Oct 2012


The defeat came after more than 50 Conservative rebels were joined by Labour MPs in supporting a demand for real-terms reductions in spending by Brussels.

The Government was defeated by 307 votes to 294, a majority of 13. Commons sources estimated that 51 Tories voted against the Government, with two more acting as tellers.

The vote was Mr Cameron’s second major Commons defeat over Europe and led to warnings that division in the Conservative Party over Europe could hamstring him as it did Sir John Major during the 1990s.

The vote is not binding, but will put Mr Cameron under intense pressure to take a harder line in talks on the EU budget at a summit in Brussels later this month.

Mr Cameron had already promised to veto any significant rise in EU spending and Downing Street last night promised to “take note” of the vote in the coming budget negotiations.

Some Conservative MPs said the vote could strengthen Mr Cameron’s hand in the budget talks, but aides fear the result could create a significant political problem for Mr Cameron.

Government sources insist that it is effectively impossible for Mr Cameron to deliver a cut in EU spending because so many other members want an increase.

Yet any budget deal that falls short of the cuts demanded by the House of Commons could leave Mr Cameron facing a backlash from MPs and the public.

Peter Bone, a Conservative rebel, said many MPs had defied the Government because their constituents will not accept a rise in EU spending.

“Parliament spoke for the people,” Mr Bone said. “It was a very significant victory for the people.”

Ed Balls, the Labour Shadow Chancellor described the vote as “humiliating” for Mr Cameron.

Senior Tories responded by accusing Labour of taking an “opportunistic and hypocritical” position on the budget because of the last government’s record on EU spending.

EU leaders are trying to decide on a budget for 2014 to 2020. The European Commission and several EU countries are calling for an increase in spending.

Mr Cameron has said he wants EU spending to rise in line with inflation, a real-terms freeze. Conservative critics say that would still cost British taxpayers billions of pounds, arguing that at a time of domestic austerity, EU spending should also be cut.

Before the vote, the Prime Minister tried to placate his party by insisting that he too wanted a cut and promising a hard line at the summit.

"At best we would like it cut, at worst frozen, and I'm quite prepared to use the veto if we don't get a deal which is good for Britain,” he said.

“But let's be clear - it is in our interest to try to get a deal because a seven-year freeze would keep our bills down compared to annual budgets."

Mark Reckless, one of the leaders of the Conservative rebellion, told MPs that Mr Cameron’s plan would increase the UK’s net contribution to the EU from £9.2 billion last year to £13.6 billion in 2020.

“We simply cannot, cannot afford that,” he said.

Mark Pritchard, another rebel leader, said money sent the EU should be spend in the UK instead.

He said: "Are we going to continue to ask families up and down this country to stop putting new shoes on their children's feet while we fill the very large Mercedes fleet of Brussels?”

No 10 said that Mr Cameron was taking the toughest stance of any EU leader on the budget, but ministers admitted that even his starting position for the talks – inflationary rises in spending – would cost Britons more money.

Greg Clark, the City minister, told MPs: “It is true that the increase we are talking about would involve further contributions.”

Tony Baldry, a senior Tory backbencher who backed the Government, accused the rebels of “self-indulgence” that could take the party back to the internal conflict that undermined Sir John Major’s government.

He said: "If this party hopes to be in government after the next general election, it has just got to get a grip and start supporting the Prime Minister."

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, likened Mr Cameron to Sir John, his authority undermined by Tory dissent over Europe.

"He can't convince European leaders, he can't even convince his own backbenchers,” Mr Miliband said. “He is weak abroad, he is weak at home: It's John Major all over again

Last edited by Panda on Thu 1 Nov - 9:06; edited 1 time in total

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Re: David Cameron suffers stinging defeat over Europe

Post  Panda on Thu 1 Nov - 9:03

some of the comments....

minutes ago

we are sick of the eu,when will the ruling class represent the people who vote for them?
what cameron will do is huff & puff & then do nothing

  • anynamesleft

    6 minutes ago

    Mr Plasticine take a harder line over Europe? For that he would have to have a backbone and a pair of balls.

    We know what is going to happen next. David Cameron will go to Europe, make a speech about the need to reduce budgets to 'fair' levels', roll over and get out-voted by the other 26 countries. He will then come home and tell us what a marvellous job he has done in pegging EU expenditure to not much more than inflation.

    The guy is an idiot if he thinks we will be satisfied with this charade. What we demand now is proper DEMOCRACY. We want an In/Out referendum on Europe so that we, the tax-payers of Britain, get a say in how our money is spent. The present arrangement of LibLabCon stitch-up over Europe is not acceptable. Those MPs rebelled because we, the people, demand change.

  • yetigoose

    6 minutes ago

    The PM's position is embarrassingly untenable. Declining support from his own party, headless chicken policies, minister after dodgy minister sacked and the looming spectre of his 'salacious' emails being released - no doubt to howling mockery from the opposition and public in general. How long will he cling on to 'power'?

  • frailtrev

    7 minutes ago

    Cameron has been placed between a rock and a hard place.

    A Coalition government is hard enough to contend with and yet he maintained the stance of saying that he would veto an increase in EU expenditure.

    Quite frankly, if most other EU countries are voting for an increase in expenditure it must be because most expect to gain something from it - after all there are only three main contributors to the budget, Germany, France and England.

    The EU is gradually working itself into a deep hole from which there will be no recovery.

    Under the circumstances, Cameron's stance was understandable and he has now been given a task which is impossible to fulfill, because of EU intransigence.

  • politicallyincorrect

    2 minutes ago

    The only reason the other countries want us in the EU is so that they can steal our money, steal our fish and flood our country with the dregs of Europe. The sooner we are free of our foreign oppressors the better. The EU commissioners and EU employees are scum.

  • Conceicao A

    8 minutes ago

    Miliband is a pratt isn't he

  • patriot1721

    10 minutes ago

    I find it unbelievable, amusing and sickening to hear Cameron saying, when responding to Milliband. ' the whole country will see...blah, blah, blah...'. The country does see, Cameron, and it see's you ignoring what we, the people of the UK want re the whole EU disaster. The country couldn't care less about Milliband, or Labour. They are no different that the Tories. They too are liars and Quislings. You are in control, via EU permission, but we want you to take full control back, not to negotiate anything.

    (Edited by author 1 minute ago)

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