EU budget defeat rocks Cameron

2012-11-01 11:01
British Prime Minister David Cameron. (File, AP)

British Prime Minister David Cameron. (File, AP) (Facundo Arrizabalaga)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron was battling to reclaim authority on Thursday, after rebels in his Conservative party delivered his first major parliamentary defeat by defying him over the EU budget.

Lawmakers passed a motion late on Wednesday urging Cameron to insist on a real-terms cut in the European Union's trillion-euro 2014-2020 budget at a summit in Brussels next month.

While the vote is not binding, it is the most significant defeat for the Conservative-led coalition since it came to power in 2010.

Cameron had attempted to stave off a rebellion by promising to veto any above-inflation increase of the EU budget, which has become increasingly contentious as austerity measures bite across the continent.

He insists that a seven-year EU budget freeze in real terms is the best Britain can realistically expect next month, as most of the bloc's 27 member states support a budget increase.

But in a humiliating blow to his authority, 53 Conservative lawmakers defied the prime minister and voted for a budget cut.

Nightmare on Downing Street

After heated debate in the House of Commons, the vote passed by 307 votes to 294, to loud cheers from the rebels.

The Telegraph newspaper described the defeat as a "Halloween horror" for Cameron, while the i newspaper summed the situation up as: "Nightmare on Downing Street".

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Conservatives' junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, said there was "absolutely no hope" of a real-terms cut in EU spending.

"The coalition government's position remains the same - we will not accept an increase, above inflation, to the EU budget," he was due to say in a speech at the Chatham House think-tank on Thursday.

"That is the toughest position of any European country," the draft speech added.

Clegg, like Cameron, warns that if a seven-year deal is not struck next month the EU will have to revert to annual budgets, which they say would be more costly for Britain.

€1.03 trillion budget

"The Prime Minister and I may have our differences on Europe, but on this we are absolutely united," said Clegg, a former Member of the European Parliament whose centrist party is more pro-EU than the Conservatives.

But ministers face a battle to get any EU budget deal approved by parliament. Mark Reckless, a leading Conservative rebel, said Cameron could not afford to return from Brussels with anything less than a real-terms budget cut.

"If the government comes with anything except a cut in the EU budget then they are not going to be able to get that through parliament - and they are going to need to get it through parliament in this case," Reckless told BBC television.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, wants a budget of €1.03 trillion for 2014-2020, up 5.0% on 2007-2013, but seven major contributor states have balked at the increase at a time when they are having to cut spending at home.

It rejected on Tuesday a €50bn cut suggested by Cyprus, the current holder of the EU's rotating presidency.

But Germany and France have joined Britain in insisting that the EU cannot expect to get more when national governments have to make do with less, demanding cuts in the 2014-2020 budget of €100bn or more.

Wednesday's parliamentary revolt puts renewed pressure on Cameron after months of blunders and U-turns by the coalition, which is halfway through its five-year term, and whisperings of a possible leadership challenge.

Growing scepticism

He is not the first Conservative premier to be haunted by Europe, an issue that has bitterly divided the party for decades.

Infighting over the bloc plagued the leadership of Britain's last Conservative prime minister John Major, and was central to the downfall of Major's predecessor Margaret Thatcher.

Europe is also likely to be an issue in the next general election, scheduled for 2015, amid growing scepticism about the EU among British voters.

Many Conservatives have called for a referendum on ending Britain's membership of the bloc altogether. Cameron opposes an "in-out" referendum, but has hinted at a public vote on adjusting Britain's relationship with the EU.

Cameron warned European Council president Herman van Rompuy at talks in London last week that Britain, which does not use the euro currency, could not support a sharp increase in the EU budget.

In December, Cameron dramatically parted ways with the bloc over the EU fiscal compact, which laid down the lines for tighter co-ordination of tax and spending policy amid the eurozone crisis.

Read more on:    david cameron  |  nick clegg  |  uk

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zille: Only DA can challenge ANC in F State

The DA is the only party that can challenge the ANC in the Free State, opposition party leader Helen Zille says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Paarl - 17:32 PM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    BUSY CONDTIONS at Huguenot tunnel - EXPECT DELAYS
  • Monday Camps Bay - 17:27 PM
    Road name: Victoria Road Northbound
    DELAYS though central Camps Bay area
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia E7

Your mobile office Real-time emails with Mail for Exchange. Easy access to...

From R3499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.