The EU budget vote

 

            Parliament today voted for a real terms cut in the EU budget. The government would be wise to welcome this guidance, and to strengthen its efforts to instil some budget commonsense and discipline into the EU partners.  The Coalition Minister responding to the debate made clear that he and his colleagues also think there is much waste and less desirable spending in the Eu budget, so they do not seem to disagree with the desirability of making reductions.

           The fact that the Labour party voted for the Conservative backbench amendment shows how far the mood of the country has swung against more spending and more power being exercised from Brussels. Labour, after all, was the party that needlessly gave away part of our rebate, and agreed to a substantial uplift in the EU budget for the last longer term budget settlement.  We seem now to have agreement amongst most politicians that the EU budget is too large and the spending powers of the EU too great, at a time when national  budgets have to be pruned or controlled.  I voted for a smaller EU budget.

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83 Comments

  1. Merlin
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    The result, John, is non binding on Cameron.

    You still voted for an EU budget.

    Smoke and mirrors

    No change the EUSSR superstate continues and the UK parliament is just a sideshow

    Vote and join UKIP

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      Indeed it will change nothing. I finally hear Ed Miliband saying something I agreed with:- “Cameron is weak abroad, weak at home – he is John Major all over again!”. He has less excuse too, he is not as dim as Major clearly is and he has also had the benefit of viewing the Major disasters at first hand. He clearly has not learned much.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      As the only alternatives were to vote NO or to abstain, I think JR did the correct thing.

    • Jerry
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      More Fifth Columnist activity from the Pro EU “merlin”, either that or he simply can’t work it out, vote UKIP get Labour.

      Anyway, this was more about telling Cameron/Clegg what the UK parliament thinks, the real (binding) vote will come once the EU have decided what to tell the UK to vote on…

    • David Price
      Posted November 2, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Say UKIP had one MP, which way do you believe he would have voted?

      Why should I vote for a party that seeks to remove protection for pensioners (PPF) and increase taxes on pensions (combined income tax and NI)?

      Do the UKIP MEPs pay full UK taxes on their EU income?

      Have the UKIP MEPs formally renounced their EU pensions?

  2. Merlin
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    The fundamental problem with the Conservative party is simple

    The PM is a europhile

    The Party is split 3 ways on Europe

    United you stand divided you fall

    • Jerry
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      @merlin: “United you stand divided you fall

      Indeed and that division is coming in the shape of UKIP…

      The simple problem with UKIP is, they can’t get elected to Westminster, not once in 18 years (both the Pro SDP and Greens have done better, in the case of the SDP a lot better [1]), thus by voting Labour you are almost certainly voting for a Labour (or Lib-Lab coalition) government.

      Had those who, in their fit of peak, stormed off out of the Tory party to form (what became) UKIP had stayed in the party then the Tory party might actually have a eurosceptic leader.

      [1] for what was then, and what should now be, a seismic moment in British politics UKIP should be gaining similar numbers of seats as the SDP did in their early days

      • Jerry
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Oops! …thus by voting UKIP you are almost certainly voting for a Labour (or Lib-Lab coalition) government…

        • Bob
          Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          @Jerry

          “you are almost certainly voting for a Labour (or Lib-Lab coalition) government”

          And the difference between that and and a Tory government is what?

          • Jerry
            Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            @Bob: Euroscepticism (Tories) and being europhile (Labour/LDs), to the point that some of these europhiles still want to join the EZ!..

            Another five years of a Labour (or Lab/LD coalition) government and there might not be the option of leaving the EU such will be our integration, another five years of a eurosceptic Tory government will mean that our options remain open. If you think, like “merlin” seems to, that UKIP can go from Zero to Hero in one election then you are in electoral and statistical dream land – UKIP is diluting the Tory vote, not the Labour or LD vote.

  3. zorro
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely – vote won…..Cast Elastic now has Parliamentary backing (cross party even) to demand an EU budget cut….Indeed, he could make it more emphatic by persuading those Tories who voted against a budget cut to change their minds next time. Surely the PM should be grateful to you and will relish the opportunity to discuss the EU budget with other European leaders knowing that he has the full support of Parliament behind lot more flexibility on how he can operate. A new mood afoot hopefully now….or am I misreading Mr Cameron?

    Is he chipper about the future, and relishing his soon to be vocal demonstration of euroscepticism? You see, you can win even when you lose a vote…. 🙂

    zorro

  4. outsider
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your late post Mr Redwood. It was a good night for voters, not least, as you say, because Labour now thinks it is good politics to take a more wary attitude to the EU. That is clearly only because of the need for cuts at home, as some Labour MPs were arguing for higher EU spending, but that creates the opportunity for reform. Pity about the Liberal Democrats.

  5. j goodchild
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Tonight was a victory for democracy. I know its not binding but it might make the PM sit up and listen. It will surely make other countries get up and fight back against the corrupt and unelected EU.
    Labours overnight “conversion” can be taken with a pinch of salt and the contempt it really deserves. Ed Milliband was overheard saying “i really hate this vote” and Ed balls would sell his mother for.a vote.
    However if the Conservatives are to ever gain back their core support they must start here and deliver an in out.recerendum.
    Congratulations to the 53 rebels who stood strong.

  6. Freeborn John
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much for voting for the ‘rebel amendment’. I just wish my wishy-washy MP (Dr. Philip Lee) had done the same. He is not much of an advert for the primary system that selected him when he so often ignores his constituents desires and tamely obeys orders to vote for more EU powers and budget.

    • Jerry
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      If he, in fact any MP, is actually ignoring his constituents (or even just those who voted for him) then he will pay for this with his job, of course he might just be ignoring those who shout the loudest and not the majority…

      • Freeborn John
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        It is beyond the bounds of probability to imagine there is a majority in Dr. Lee’s constituency (or any other) in favour of an increased budget for the EU. What makes Philip Lee’s position particularly cynical though is that he proclaims to be in favour of leaving the EU while actually having a Westminster voting record of voting strongly in favour of more EU integration and budget. He deserves to lose his suit but FPTP means that many MPS are safe no matter how unrepresentative they are.

        • Jerry
          Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          Than, as I said, he will loose his seat and thus job at the next election – of course if he gets re elected will you be man enough to come back and apologise that you ‘named and shamed’ someone who was actually doing what the majority of his constituents wanted?…

  7. mike
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    It was a good day for democracy…. One of the few I can remember in recent times.

    Kate Hoey was particularly impressive I thought.

    One does wonder what Number 10 were up to, suffering a defeat of this nature is nothing but poor leadership in my opinion. Cameron got a boost from his ‘veto’ yet tried to argue for the unjustifiable and handed the opposition a huge boost.

    If I were one of the 250 tory MPs who now have to fight the next election in the face of UKIP and labour pointing out their voting record on this matter I would not be impressed…..

    • Horatio McSherry
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Agreed. I thought Kate Hoey was excellent!

  8. Merlin
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Today’s debate just showed how powerless the UK parliament really is, the budget will pass even if Cameron vetoes it, the rebel mp’ s should join ukip because they are wasting their time in the Conservative party which is along withe other 2 parties obedient to the EUSSR. In fact all 3 parties on Europe are spineless and constantly give the completly false impression that they are standing up to Europe, what a joke.. All 3 political parties will do whatever Europe tells them to do, it’s truly tragic . There is no leader in the UK parliament that will stand up to Europe.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      The annual budget is decided by Qualified Majority Voting, and always has been – Heath signed up to us to that through Article 203 of the original Treaty of Rome starting on page 62 here:

      http://www.eurotreaties.com/rometreaty.pdf

      In this case there are no grounds for trying to pin the blame on Blair, as some have tried to do, because we never had a veto for Blair to give away.

      We do have a veto on the Multiannual Financial Framework, although as has been pointed out failure to reach agreement on a new framework would mean that the budget for the last year would be continued with automatic inflation-proofing to the extent of 2% a year.

      A person of average intelligence who bothered to read Article 312 TFEU while remaining unaware of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2006:139:0001:0001:EN:PDF

      would not have thought that:

      “4. Where no Council regulation determining a new financial framework has been adopted by the end of the previous financial framework, the ceilings and other provisions corresponding to the last year of that framework shall be extended until such time as that act is adopted.”

      might actually mean:

      “4. Where no Council regulation determining a new financial framework has been adopted by the end of the previous financial framework, the ceilings and other provisions corresponding to the last year of that framework shall be extended with automatic 2% a year inflation-proofing until such time as that act is adopted.”

      And it’s questionable whether it should be held to mean that; as this is a treaty article which has been approved by all the national parliaments as it stood, it is not clear that the three EU institutions involved in the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement have the legal authority to modify its meaning in the way suggested.

      This is a case where the cry:

      “It’s your own fault, you should have read the treaties”

      clearly doesn’t hold water.

      It always amuses me when the government warns people not to be taken in by doorstep cheats, when one of its own departments, the FCO, is quite content to be complicit in the deceptions practised on behalf of its beloved EU.

    • Jerry
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      @merlin: Do feel free to find a clue as to how these things actually work, this was a positioning amendment, the UK parliament still has to actually pass the EU budget once the EU decide what their budget will be – and that vote will be binding…

    • Graham
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      How right you are.

    • Prangwizard
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Good try UKipper, but parliament last evening reflected the views of the people. Do you think all that will be forgotten? The best way out of the EU is to persuade more and more existing MPs away from the beast that it is. The myth that nothing can be done has been destroyed by last nights debate and vote. It was a great day, however the BBC and others try to distort matters, they cannot deny what happened, that parliament demands change. It will not stop with the budget issue.
      Don’t forget Douglas Carswell’s Bill to repeal the European Communities 1972 Act was debated the other day. It won’t be passed but the whole debate is gaining strength; UKIP can change nothing, if they do want change they should support those who can achieve it.

      • Anthony Harrison
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        “It was a great day…UKIP can change nothing..”? A “great day” for whom? It was charming to see the government defeated on this, but that was down chiefly to Labour – not to your allegedly “Eurosceptic” Conservative Party, only 53 out of 300+ of whom dared to vote against Cameron & Co’s miserably tentative motion. Much of the credit for the EU’s becoming more and more central to political debate must go to UKIP – it certainly is not the Conservative Party as a whole that has done so, notwithstanding the relatively few voices of sanity such as John Redwood.

  9. Richard
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, thankyou Mr Redwood for using your influence in Parliament and for your many articles on this subject, which must be read and seen by many in positions of power.
    Slowly but surely the tide is turning.
    Who would have thought that Labour would have voted as they did, adding together with many Conservative MPs to result in this vote
    Perhaps those in the EU will democratically accept this decision and alter their budget proposals.
    But with 17 member nations being net receivers and only 10 being net givers, the chances of winning a vote are low.
    Which brings the thought should it be only the nations that pay in, be able to vote on the EU budget?
    In each of Labour’s years in office EU spending rose by more than inflation and our hard won rebate was given away on a promise of reform of the CAP which has never yet materialised and looks very unkikely that it will ever occur.

    • Jerry
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Labour voting with as eurosceptics, I wish, this was more like a tail from Little Red Riding Hood – Wolves dressed as Lambs…

  10. Paul
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Labour only voted for a cut to cause trouble for the PM. If they were in power now they would probably be voting for a rise rather than a freeze or a cut. Nonetheless, this is clearly a good result, no thanks to the majority of Conservative MPs who voted with the Government. How can anyone say the Conservative Party is eurosceptic? Give us an In/Out referendum and let’s settle this issue of Europe once and for all. How will we get that referendum? Only by voting UKIP.

  11. Anthony Harrison
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I congratulate you on your principled vote today. I only wish far more of your colleagues had the courage, or the conviction, to vote the same way. That they did not is a powerful reminder of why so many of us stopped supporting the Conservative Party. Things might change, of course, but until they do we have to be as mistrustful of the Conservatives as we are of the other two established Parties.
    We have to leave the EU and it is difficult to see how the Conservative Party might be the instrument of that.

  12. Ed
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Good to see there are 53 Tory MPs with courage and sense and respect for the electorate – shame about all the rest – sycophants and office-chasers…

  13. Duyfken
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    My compliments, congratulations and thanks to you, to Mark Reckless and the others involved in this Amendment success; the best news for some time.

  14. Nina Andreeva
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    John remember this is still a minority issue in most voters minds. If it were not UKIP might even manage to win just one by election. Take a tip from George HW Bush and remember that “it is the economy stupid” and not get yourself entangled in such minority issues like “flag burning as he did”. The roots of our current crisis are not in Brussels and are instead simple result of the letting the banks go wild.

    • Richard
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I agree it is still a minority issue but I also feel more and more voters in the UK are now making a connection between the EU and their reducing standards of living.

      And I’m not so certain as you are, that it was “simply the banks being allowed to go wild” which caused the reccession we have.
      Overspending by Government has had a major part to play, as well as high energy prices, expensive wars, masses of regulation and high levels of taxes.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Disagree. I have just had a letter from Npower saying that they are jacking up their DDM on my bank account from £55pm to £150pm. You can mostly blame that on more money printing by the Fed and the Bank of England distorting the price of commodities and a weak assed regulator in London not Brussels. The £100 pm a month that I will no longer be spending elsewhere in other more productive parts of the economy only adds to deflationary undercurrents in the economy that Merv & Ben look as though they are losing control of (see also the performance of the S&P500 since the launch of QEIII)

        • Richard
          Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          Nina, Energy prices have risen by about 10%
          You either have a wonky meter or your previous DD was way too low or you are suddenly using much more energy that ever before.
          Its not money printing, QE, or the banks that is causing your sudden DD rise

        • Bazman
          Posted November 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          The Fed and the Bank of England being directly responsible for your £100 rise in your direct debit for your gas and lecy bill is exactly where the blame lies, but look further. Mev and Ben ice cream is a cover. This idea that Brussels is not also instigated in this conspiracy is to far fetched, Either that or a double bluff. I have heard that the cost of the electricity used by the electricity meter to measure your usage is being upped and the money raised used to fight illegal wars in the Antarctic. There is also the cunning plan of the electricity companies to get you into debt to prevent you leaving or obtain money from the customers to gain interest to consider. Good luck with your mission. This message will self delete after reading.

        • David Price
          Posted November 3, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          @Nina: Your 200% increase isn’t caused by money printing, the Fed or BoE. You should contest the proposed increase with your supplier. Also, if you are able to switch look at alternative suppliers.

          More likely you are now using more energy for heating and/or power companies always try to increase your DD in winter when you use more energy. Keep track of your annual usage and use that as the basis for negotiating a proper average DD. Alternatively, if you can, get a contract where you pay for what you use exactly each month, that way you control the cash flow not the energy company.

          By the way, with Npower 4% of your gas bill and 8% of your electricity bill are for “government environmental contributions”, a levy introduced by Labour (Ed Milliband and co at DECC).

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      “letting the banks go wild”

      The current political crisis has enabled some bankers to “go wild”.

      They went wild because there were no consequences, no framework within which to work.

      Without our sovereignty, these things will happen, and will continue to happen. The regulators were asleep: they still are!

      Within the EU, the power needed to define what is acceptable lacks credibility because it is vested in an elite group (those in Brussels) that have no responsibility for enacting the policy.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        Again how had the EU removed the FSAs powers to regulate the banks? GB was encouraging “light touch regulation” (Osborne is on record as saying it was not “light” enough). While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that the FSA was promoting the City on Wall St as a great place to do business on the basis that you can do things there that you cannot do here (GOOGLE Prof William K Black for further details)

    • Graham
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Nonsense.

      The EU issue is far more than finance it is about being able to govern ourselves and the fact that most of our social ills [HRA % overwhelming immigration numbers].

      If you cannot see that then you have drunk far too much ‘kool aid’.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        No Kool Aid drinking here, have a read of the works of the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas, especially when he deals with the democratic deficit. The EU is its current format in my view stinks. However Europe needs to get it together or face disaster with its shrinking populations, crappy welfare systems and unproductive economies.

  15. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Not a bad negotiating position for a start. No veto demanded by parliament, and Cameron can point to parliament as a way to achieve a little more in Brussels.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Peter,
      Try telling that to Cameron. You can’t have heard the debate. The government minister was obsessed with using the veto. At least Parliament began to attempt to recover its authority.

      • Dr Dan H.
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        What you also have to remember here is that the Conservative Party is not the Labour Party. Under the constitution of the Labour Party, once a person manages to inveigle their way into the top spot, then they are almost impossible to remove from that spot. Gordon Brown is a case in point here; arguably unfit for office, certainly an electoral liability and a particularly bad leader as well, yet damn near impossible to shift.

        The Conservative Party, by contrast, has ways and means by which an unpopular leader may have a leadership contest dropped onto him, with no way to avoid it save fighting it out. Cameron has Boris Johnson waiting in the wings; Johnson is much more popular than Cameron is, and the latter would likely lose a leadership contest to the former.

        Cameron is therefore in a precarious position, politically speaking. He hasn’t got the support to ram his own views through, and if push comes to shove he could get ousted. His only real option here is to get populist quickly and start acting in a very publicly Euroskeptic manner.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: Indeed, I didn’t hear this debate. My friends tell me that this issue will run right into next year and go to the wire, probably even the clock will have to be stopped at midnight on the last day.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Peter exactly.

      Cameron can now go to the EU and say to fellow heads of government.

      I tried my best just to keep spending level, but afraid the mood in Parliament which reflects the Population wish, is a reduction.

      Anyone with any negotiating skills would use this vote to strengthen their negotiation stance, not weaken it.

      That is why some of us have suggested an in out referendum before any negotiations, as it strengthens any negotiating position.

      I see Mr Nigal Lawson on the radio this morning favours a simple in out referendum, as he says renegotiation would be a waste of time as the EU would simply refuse to negotiate.
      Then when we are out ,we can negotiate new terms should they want a trade deal.

  16. Brian Taylor
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    At last the MPs are getting the message,hope it not lost crossing the channel.

  17. Ruth
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks for leading the way, as always. If only I had a Tory MP with a spine and principles too. Unfortunately my MP always votes with the government on EU matters. Still, he won’t be an MP in a few years time…

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Seconded!

    • Nicol Sinclair
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Ruth: ” If only I had a Tory MP with a spine and principles too.” To which I reply, “if only I had a Tory MP”.

  18. Prangwizard
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I see that Sky this morning are saying that the ‘Tory rebels’ joined Labour in the vote. They must know it was a Conservative amendment and Labour joined the Tories. They are thus being deliberately misleading. The BBC are doing the same.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed, I have been listening to the BBC’s miss-reporting this morning. If they can get wrong something as simple as this, you have to wonder as to the accuracy of their other news reports.

  19. Alte Fritz
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

    Well, I know the Jabberwock is not slain, but it has at least had a nasty knock.

  20. Horatio McSherry
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    John, an excellent result; however it was far closer than I would have liked to have seen it. I also didn’t realise that the vote was non-binding, which leaves me thinking that the vacuous PM will go into negotiations with no change in attitude than he would have done 24 hours ago.

    The vote also shows up the superciliousness of the Neo Labour benches. They know that being Eurosceptic is what their constituents want from them, yet they only chose to vote in a Eurosceptic was for their own political gain. As many have said: Correct vote. Wrong reason.

    Things are finally shifting in Parliament. Slowly; but it’s all to be welcomed. the next battle is to vote down the (increased) EU Budget when it finally arrives.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I listened to the debate. The behaviour of Coalition supporting Conservative MPs when the Labour spokesman made his contribution was both appalling and revolting. The Coalition minister’s case was virtually incoherent; he wanted a cut in the EU budget but vote against it. He was against the amendment because it didn’t contain condemnatory words about Labour having given away the EU budget rebate. He was obsessed with asking if Labour would use the veto. It was only when Mark Reckless spoke that the quality of the debate made a step change with one or two exceptions on the Coalition side. The reult was closer than I would have liked and will be ignored by Cameron who will come back like Chamberlain with his piece of paper proclaiming success which will be yet more money being given to the wretched EU.

  22. Chris
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood, and thank you to those other MPs who contributed with some passion and sincerity to the debate, emphasising that it was unjustifiable and incomprehensible to ask the electorate to take severe cuts and yet vote through more spending in the EU.
    I understand that the current proposal by Cameron on the table at the EU, as Nick Robinson stated on Radio 4 this morning, is actually still unchanged (despite Cameron stating that he will get the best he can) i.e. he will be seeking a freeze in the budget. This in fact represents a real term rise in the budget. Cameron is certainly behind the curve and out of touch if he proceeds along these line.

    I find the argument by the government (in justifying pushing for a freeze) that this is the best deal that we are likely to get the most revealing thing, and the most serious, about the workings of the EU. This is a straightforward admission that we indeed have no powers to alter things in practice, whatever the spin might have been in the past – the system is set up so that objectors can be disempowered in one fell swoop, in order for “the project” to march on relentlessly.
    It is this, Mr Cameron, that the electorate is so bothered about. The leaching of powers to control our own economy, justice, population, laws etc has been on a huge scale, and yet the true scale of this has been kept from the people. Bernard Jenkin put the point boldly and succinctly yesterday. Who ceded these powers and when? It seems as though the automatic budget rise of current plus 2% arrangement, in the event of non agreement, was signed off in inter institutional agreements of 2006, and earlier, dating back to the late 1980s. Cameron is presumably trying to say that we may succeed with a freeze, but if we don’t then it is a 2% rise, so take your pick.
    I believe that many in the electorate do not accept that. The UK does have power, and that is simply to say No, and to be prepared to act on Plan B.

  23. Tad Davison
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Let’s not run away with ourselves.

    This is not the end. It isn’t the beginning of the end. It isn’t even the end of the beginning. It is nothing more than a gesture.

    The only way I will ever believe ‘the settled will of parliament’ is when they do the only right and proper thing left open to them, and get us out altogether.

    For that to happen, much education needs to take place, and the bribery in the form of the EU gravy train, needs to be stopped. Vested interests have been allowed to cloud the judgements of influential politicians, to this nation’s detriment. Clegg, himself a beneficiary, has threatened to kill this initiative.

    We, on the right side of the argument, with only Britain’s best interests at heart, need to retain a sense of reality.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  24. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    In the debate, Labour MP Mike Gaps told the House that the rest of the EU are giving up on the UK. He said that what he is hearing as he has traveled around the EU to various meetings is that while in the past other EU nations have attempted to find ways of accommodating the UK’s objectives because they wished the UK to remain in the EU, the situation has now changed and they are giving up on any special favours for the UK. They are saying that if what the majority in the EU wants is not what the UK wants then the UK can not expect the other nations to bother themselves with any special pleading.

    Would those who think the UK can renegotiate a new and acceptable relationship with the EU care to comment?

    • Richard
      Posted November 2, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      The UK is the second biggest contributor to the EU budget.
      If we left Germany and France would be the ones putting in huge extra sums.
      And we have the largest trading deficit with the rest of the EU of any other EU member nation.
      This deficit is mainly with Germany. The worry of facing tariffs on their cars imported into the UK is a real concern to them.
      Who will lose the most if we were to really demand change, a reduced contribution or even to threaten to leave?
      Its all posturing and early positioning by both sides at this point.
      When it comes to the final meeting its all about the money.
      We always have undrestimated our negotiating strengh.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        The UK pays the fourth largest costs overall, second largest net contribution, 7th largest net contribution by population, and least as a percentage of its GNI.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8036097.stm#start

        Any loss of revenue from the UK can easily be made up by a slight increase in the other 26 members contributions. Also the EU will be slightly cheaper to run as their will be fewer MEP.

        The UK exports more to Germany than Germany exports to the UK so the UK will suffer more if tariffs are introduced.

        In conclusion the UK needs the EU more than the EU needs the UK, so the UK will suffer more if it leaves the EU.

        • Richard
          Posted November 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          unamime5
          I get the impression you are clutching at straws.
          You continue to peddle statistics which are wrong.
          The UK is the worlds 7th biggest trading nation
          We export 10.5% of our GDP to Germany
          Germany imports 12.5% of its GDP into us.
          You agree with me that the UK pays the second biggest contributions I note.
          Just who is going to fill the gap if we stopped paying in?

          I suppose you think the German and French car industries will be thrilled if the UK imposes import tariffs.

          “also the EU will be cheaper to run as there will be fewer MEPs”…are you serious or is this your idea of a joke?

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    There were some unimpressive contributions from Tory MPs yesterday evening, probably the worst of all being that from Sir Tony Baldry in which he seemed to think that the only duty of a Tory MP was to support the Prime Minister come what may.

  26. Nigel
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The UK is one of 12 states that make a net contribution. This suggests that there are 15 who do not make a net contribution. The 15 will always outvote the 12, so our contributions will increase ad infinitum.

    It is similar to Gordon Brown’s client state where you put as many people as possible on benefits, so that the likelihood is that they will vote for you at an election, when your opposition will be taking a responsible approach and be seeking to cut expenditure (including benefits).

  27. They Work for US
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood for voting for a real cut in the EU budget.

    For blog readers who have a conservative MP that displeases therm then please write to the chairman of your local constituency party asking for the deselection of that person as a candidate for the 2015 election and persuade as many as you can to do the same. Nothing will concentrate the mind of the sitting MP more than the strong chance of losing his seat and sinecure next time.

    All MPs should be prepared to face the Whips and say, I cannot vote in support for this issue because my electors do not support it and remember I do work for them and must place them first.

  28. Neil Craig
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Congratulations.

  29. oldtimer
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    A good result. If Cameron was sensible he would use the vote to strengthen his negotiating hand in the EU budget negotiations. Germany, for example, does not support the proposed increase; Cameron should try to persuade Merkel to support a real terms cut. In view of the fact the EU has yet to secure a clean audit report, it does not deserve the cash it already receives let alone an increase.

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Well done, everybody. I thought that the Labour Party was being opportunistic but perhaps they are preparing the ground for a strategic U-turn. The two Eds will probably seek to pin all the blame for the old policy on Tony Blair, who is no longer Teflon Tony, and protect what little remains of Gordon Brown’s reputation. That’s a good idea. For all the harm he did, Gordon Brown at least kept us out of the Euro zone.

    The successful vote will have the effect that the Prime Minister’s negotiating position will now become his bottom line. That is worth having. If we actually want to achieve a real terms cut, we will need allies among the other Member States.

  31. RDM
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Line drawn, wake-up call sent, good job too!!

    Totally behind you!!!

  32. Bert Young
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Dr. JR your efforts and support yesterday were commendable . The dissent shown is a wake-up call and a good reflection of how the country regards its relationship with the EU . As for the Hestletine effort , your reaction is my reaction ; his observations on kick-starting the economy show how foolish some people can be .

  33. Antisthenes
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Labour voting for a cut in the EU budget was cynical, hypocritical and opportunist but handy in the fight to get the UK out of the EU. This will come back to haunt Labour especially as the EU is not going to countenance any such thing. This vote raises hopes that are going to be dashed. The PM will go to the meeting knowing the best he can hope for is to get a rise only in line with inflation and probably not even that. What does he do use the veto only to then have annual budgets pushed through by majority decision or come back with a package that according to the vote parliament does not want and certainly the country does not want. Either way Cameron is in hole and will be seen to be a failure. However it is a win win situation for Euro-sceptics as it adds fuel to the disillusionment that is occurring with some rapidity within the UK. The future is indeed looking much more promising for Euro-sceptics.

  34. Bernard Juby
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Good for you – as always – but it would be telling to know who voted against the Amendment so that they could be dissuaded from their mis-placed ideas (or were they just Party cannon-fodder trouping through the No lobby)?

  35. Narrow shoulders
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The amendment should have stated a “net contribution” that the UK was prepared to make. This figure could have reflected the real terms reduction in the budget we require. UK then pays its contribution (actually amounts remitted can be adjusted for any retaliatory drop in regional funding). Those countries who wish to increase the overall budget can do so.

    This seems to be a reasonable negotiating position given that we are assured there can be no agreement with the 17

  36. Jane
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    The Labour party voted this way because they wanted to embarrass the PM and show up the divisions within the Conservative Party. I think you delude yourself if you believe they did it for any other reason – just read Hopi Sen’s excellent blog… Duplicitous from a party that agreed a rise in the EU Budget from £3bn in 2008 to the current £7bn. They also gave away a large part of our rebate. Told us the rebate would be tempered by a reduction in the Common Agricultural Policy too and I read today that France will not permit this even though the UK hope to do it in this round of negotiations too. Also read that some 27 countries are recipients of EU monies so they will not vote against any restraint. I know that a freeze is useless as our net contribution will rise to over 1bn euro in the next seven years because of EU rules relating to “old” v”new” member states. We will pay more also if the EU just carries over the 2013 budget and add inflation. I must assume therefore that you believe a new deal will be made on an ad hoc basis? I don’t know about this.

    I am with Tony Baldry on this issue. Not to worry – all is paving the way for Ed Miliband to enter No 10.

  37. Andrew
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Excellent – The 53 Tory MP’s should be celebrated, in the long run this should prove to strengthen PM’s hand. It might not yet be a watershed moment, but hopefully moves us closer to the end of a Liberal appeasing coalition. Happy Days.

  38. Robert Taggart
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Johnny, if UKIP were a serious political power – within British Parliamentary Politics – would you be one of theirs ?
    How about a political pact with them at the next general election ?

  39. J. Gasper
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    The EU is not Europe. It’s just one way of running Europe. In my view, a bad way.
    Europe will still be there when the EU falls apart.
    We should be careful we don’t get trapped in the wreckage.
    Yesterday’s vote won’t make any difference.

  40. Richard1
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    What I would like to know, if any Labour party supporters read this blog, is why the Labour Party are now against an increase in the EU budget. The EU’s money goes on such things as subsidies for favoured industries, infrastructure, higher payments to public sector workers than they would otherwise get, and subsidies to the ‘green’ sector – all things the Labour Party campaigns for in the UK. I would expect Labour to say such higher spending, financed by EU countries such as the UK by extra borrowing, would boost demand and so be a good idea. Whats different about this proposed EU increase? I’m confused.

  41. Barbara Stevens
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I congratulate you MrR on your vote, it was the right way forward. My worry is though, what will happen now? Will they impose the increase eventually with or without the UK making us pick up the bill, not of our choosing. Cameron, if he’s sensible, will note this vote, and step into the arena of the EU knowing what this countries MPs have voted for. MPs are answerable to parliament, no one else, it is they we elect. Some how I’ve a feeling we will be disappointed. I’ll wait and see.
    Cameron should walk away if we cannot get repatriation of powers, Clegg says we won’t get any; how does he know? Is he afraid we will regain them back and he will be weakened if we do? I don’t like Clegg or his party they are opportunists, who ride the best ride when they see it. This is one of their rides and their shabby blackmailing is exposed.
    We should be united as one as far as this country is concerned, not have elements of parties proposing one thing the country as almost stated it does not want; we see who the almost traitors are. Can they be judged any less? Severe analysis I know, but that’s the level of feeling one feels when one sees MPs talking about our sovereignty as though it’s nothing. Lib Dems don’t have that level of feeling for this country that’s obvious. For me its Queen and Country and to hell with the EU they are just trading partners.

  42. Chris
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood, and thank you to those other MPs who contributed with some passion and sincerity to the debate, emphasising that it was unjustifiable and incomprehensible to ask the electorate to take severe cuts and yet vote through more spending in the EU.
    I understand that the current proposal by Cameron on the table at the EU, as Nick Robinson stated on Radio 4 this morning, is actually still unchanged (despite Cameron stating that he will get the best he can) i.e. he will be seeking a freeze in the budget. This in fact represents a real term rise in the budget. Cameron is certainly behind the curve and out of touch if he proceeds along these line.
    I find the argument by the government (in justifying pushing for a freeze) that this is the best deal that we are likely to get the most revealing thing, and the most serious, about the workings of the EU. This is a straightforward admission that we indeed have no powers to alter things in practice, whatever the spin might have been in the past – the system is set up so that objectors can be disempowered in one fell swoop, in order for “the project” to march on relentlessly.
    It is this, Mr Cameron, that the electorate is so bothered about. The leaching of powers to control our own economy, justice, population, laws etc has been on a huge scale. Who ceded these powers and when? It seems as though the automatic budget rise of current plus 2% arrangement, in the event of non agreement, was signed off in inter institutional agreements of 2006, and earlier, dating back to the late 1980s. Cameron is presumably trying to say that we may succeed with a freeze, but if we don’t then it is a 2% rise, so take your pick.
    I believe that many in the electorate do not accept that. The UK does have power, and that is simply to say No, and to be prepared to act on Plan B.

  43. Lady Carole
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Well done the rebels ,you speak for the vast majority of the people

  44. David Price
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Good for you and thanks to all for voting for the amendment

  45. David Langley
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Anybody notice that the EU MEPs had a swinging majority when they voted for an increase in the budget. Most of the UK MEPs voted against it with some notable exceptions. We are again doing the wrong thing but never mind. Its all part of the great British public education. I loved the debate when some MPs mentioned the Shade of Farage stalking the house. Bang on, there are no UKIP MPs yet but they are coming we hope. Interesting that they acknowledged the constituents were rumbling. I hope that is transmitted into action, a lot of old familiar faces will soon be missing from their usual places methinks.

  46. David Langley
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    For Barbara Stevens, you are passionate and on the right lines please do read “The Great Deception” by Christopher Booker and Richard North. I have re-read it twice it has a full record of our disgraceful surrender to the EU Federal Project.
    A full understanding of what we can and cannot do is presented in a readable and digestible form.
    It is worrying though because without this kind of knowledge it is easy to see how even our current leadership is making such fundamental mistakes when dealing with the corrupted EU project.

  • 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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