The EU just carries on spending

Yesterday afternoon and evening Conservative MPs massed in the Commons to complain that at a time when all the talk is of cuts the EU budget marches onwards and upwards. Most Labour MPs had gone home or found other things to do. Their Spokeswoman was unable to tell us whether Labour MEPs would seek to vote the generous budget down or not in the European Parliament where we could do with their help.

It was an impressive display. No MP rose to support the European budget. The overwhelming sense of the session was that Conservative MPs want cuts in the EU budget. MPs understand that this budget proceeds by a combination of European Parliament votes and Council of Ministers votes, and knows that means the Uk needs to find allies to cut the budget.

To strengthen the negotiating Ministers hand 42 of us voted for an amendment asking for cuts, and all others who spoke said the same thing. Many others abstained or voted against the amendment under protest. Surely other EU countries can see the point. If France is making cuts that already have caused riots on the streets, if Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain are cutting items that are valued by their electorates, why won’t they agree with the UK that there are much easier cuts to be had in the European budget?

It’s a sobering thought that all 143 billion euros of next year’s EU budget will have to be borrowed by the member states who pay for it. Why on earth do they want to do that?

It’s also infuriating that the increase in the UK’s contributions thanks to Blair’s surrender of part of our rebate willl be twice the level of savings from the Child Benefit cut.

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27 Comments

  1. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    There is only one answer – let the people decide – EU referendum is needed more than ever.

  2. AndyC
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    What we should do is refuse to pay it, and then renegotiate our relationship with the EU on our own terms, unilaterally if need be. We won't of course, we will just go along with it.
    Mr Redwood, what is your view of the proposed parliamentary sovereignty bill? Will it have teeth, and if it will, how is that going to be compatible with our remaining an EU province under Lisbon? This fundamental choice can only be delayed so long.

    Reply: I will let you know when we have it to debate.

    • rose
      Posted October 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we should refuse to pay, and then dine a la carte as the French used to at the NATO table. It didn't harm NATO at all, or France, or us. We never had any friendly fire from them either. On the contrary, we co-operated so well militarily that we now want to share a nuclear deterrent with them. Free friendship and mutual respect is better than forced marriage and exploitation.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    This is what happens when politicians surrender control (without even seeking the endorsement of their electorate) to an unelected anti-democratic organisation. We have been betrayed by politicians over many years and have no confidence that they will do anything now to resolve this dictatorial abuse of power.

  4. lottery balls
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    And your solution with cast iron Dave & Clegg in charge is what?

  5. Mark
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Three cheers for standing up for ordinary voters on this! You make the point that we need allies in Europe to make it happen. Perhaps when William Hague returns from Moscow, he could instruct embassies in EU capitals to seek out such allies and start to work out an unified approach. Conservative MEPs should do likewise.

  6. StrongholdBarricades
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    presumably the EU will continue spending money as if the budget has passed

    the questions should be asked about where people can actually say STOP

    I am sure the EU would have to sort things out if they were dependant for their finance upon a bank quite ready to pull the bank account when their is no demonstrable funding coming in

  7. EJT
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I was impressed by this. Now Mr. Redwood has explained that it was simply " to strengthen the negotiating (hand)", when there is in reality no ability to negotiate. Gesture politics, when we need to get serious. And as for the whipping …

    Reply: If enough member states wished to change the budget they can do so – so we need the UK government to argue the case for a lower budget

    • EJT
      Posted October 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Boils down to sovereignty. If a majority had supported this motion, would cutting our contribution be "illegal" ?

  8. Peter Richmond
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I recognized the need to find allies to support the case that the budget should not rise and, better still, be cut. What I do not understand is why we cannot simultaneously take unilateral action to cut our own contribution and reduce our need to add further to our debt. The continental English in America in 1775 dealt effectively with unpopular taxation; why cannot the English off the mainland of Europe do the same in 2010? Another Boston tea party anyone?

  9. MarkJ
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    If David Cameron wants to win back some lost votes due to the unpopularity of the cuts then the simple answer is to give the public a say on the EU. In these hard financial times it is ludicrous that we are giving away £44 million a day to the EU. The people were denied a chance to their say thanks to Gordon Brown – despite the Labour 2005 manifesto stating that they would be able to say.

    The UK needs to switch to a trade only relationship with the EU. The money spent on our "contribution" could be better used elsewhere, thus meaning vote losing draconian cuts such as tuition fees and child benefit to middle earners would not need to be undertaken.

    Please push for what the majority want – a "in" or "out" vote on the EU.

  10. simon
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Parliament lost the last vestige of it's credibility by approving the new EU budget .

    Thank you for voting against it Mr Redwood , as I'm sure you are know trying to defend the spinelessness of others and their cavalier attitude to other peoples money is a lost cause .

    The UK's membership of the EU lacks the legitimacy of a referendum of the people .

    Any company which makes investments predicated on the UK's continued membership of the EU as it is today , not 40 years ago , does so at their own risk and would not elligible for compensation if The People decide to pull out .

  11. rose
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    It is also a sobering thought that we need to spend £100 billion on schools this decade to comply with the EU rules on asylum and immigration. However much HMG may dissociate itself from the previous administration's immigration policies, as long as we remain in the EU we are powerless to change them. Besides the students and highly skilled workers, all would-be immigrants will still be able to come in as EU citizens (whatever they started out as), or as Asylum seekers, or as spouses. The majority need not therefore be, and aren't, European. Enoch was severely punished for saying: "We are bailing out an ocean", but we are.

  12. Johnny
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    This decison making structure of the EU is a self perpetuating Oligarghy. It is not going to stop. It has to be stopped, by members and Democratic Will.

    John, you need to keep tellling the Public the BIG Picture in that how much this EU costs us and them. As the EU Autocrats now hold almost total power over us and taxes in terms of their demands, they can only be stopped if we REFUSE to pay up and fight them on the issue of Sovereign Power.

  13. David Thomson
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Fully agree with the above comments

  14. Allan Tallett
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Could Mr Redwood let us know the names of the lily-livered MPs who either "abstained or voted against the amendment under protest"? The fact that they acted "under protest" suggests that they were prompted more out of fear for the consequences than of conviction. What a tribe of useless nits!!

    • Simon
      Posted October 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      My mate stood as an independent in Stourbridge .

      The local Labour incumbent has never once defied the whip in her time in The House .

      Now call me dim but is there any point her being there ?

      • Norman
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        What we need are open primaries, like they have in the USA. That way at least (the majority of – I accept there are some good 'un's) MP's may occasionally think about the electorate they are meant to be serving rather than solely whether or not they will receive the Party's blessing for the next election.

  15. Derek Buxton
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree with Johnny above, nothing is negotiable as far as the EU is concerned. They are in charge and Cameron and his best friends, lab/lib are in full agreement. The fact that 37 of you got together is irrelevant, get 300+ then start talking!

  16. Norman
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I note the post regarding moderation and apologise in advance, however I believe this article deserves to be read in full:
    http://www.critical-reaction.co.uk/2776/13-10-201

    It's a post by a Conservative MEP, Roger Helmer, and is a devastating critique on the coalitions European policy, or lack thereof.

    Some choice quotes (I trust I haven't taken them out of context):

    "The truth is that we’ve been handing powers to Brussels under the Coalition arguably faster than Labour did before us."

    "….we are now whipped to vote in favour on the specious basis that we’ll have to work with it, so we’d better pretend to like it."

    "This is a gross infringement of individual liberty – and the Coalition bought it without a fight."

    "So what about the Referendum Lock? It is a meaningless piece of spin. "

    It is worthwhile reading it for an insiders take on where we are and where we are heading.

  17. Johannes
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    A reminder of what us taxpaying EU " citizens "/serfs pay for :

    8.3 Billion Euros each year on Technocrats ( includes 1.3 Billion on pensions )
    13.7 million for the un-elected Kommission's salaries.
    1.8 Billion Euros for candidate countries Turkey, Croatia etc ( includes Iceland who have no real desire to join and give up their independance and fishing rights ) !
    84.2 million for travel and entertainment.
    56.6 million Euros for conferences.

    P.S. The un-elected El Presidente Barroso earns as much as the elected U.S. President and also spends 730,000 each year of OUR MONEY on travelling and " representation " !

  18. Deborah
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Mr Redwood, for supporting the amendment.

    It is indeed sad that fellow members could only bring themselves to abstain and some were so weak as to vote against "under protest". How pointless and pathetic.
    Our elected representatives really should have more integrity.

    Thank you, once again, for putting country first.

  19. Freeborn John
    Posted October 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for voting against this. Terrible that the cast-iron One caves in and gives Brussels what it wants.

  20. Freeborn John
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I note that Philip Lee, MP for Bracknell voted for the EU. Obviously he feels he does not need my vote in 2015 and can get away with representing the EU institutions' interest rather than that of his constituents.

  21. Glyn H
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Just to note the letter in The Times two days ago which reminded us that Mr Heath was not (straightforward-ed) (this was over some house transaction -ed)) but the same applies to much else he did especially the CM negotiations over CAP and fishing.

  22. John K
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    If you are in the EU, you are ruled by the EU. That's the way it is, and there is no point moaning about it. The Conservatives might claim to be Eurosceptic, but that means nothing. You are either in the EU or out of it, and the Conservatives do not have the guts to leave. Anyhting else is meaningless posturing.

  23. Jack Barlow
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    If a complete list of all MEP's was published, together with the details of the way they voted on increasing the EU budget. ie For ,Against, Abstained, and also with the Country and political party that they represent, it would make them more accountable to their electorate. Especially if it were to be published EU wide on the internet during this period of austerity and belt tightening.It would be nice to have the same information regarding our own MP's vote on the EU contribution
    Jack Bury

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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