David Cameron will have his resolve tested over EU budget
Today in the House of Commons Cameron will face a cross-party Eurosceptic rebellion, as MPs sign an amendment backing a cut to his EU budget.
Today, MPs are due to debate the EU budget of 2014-2020 in an effort to form a final budget plan that is “acceptable to the UK”.
According to the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) budget as it currently stands, £793.3 billion will be spent, with a £13.6 billion contribution from the UK. This spending, as a percentage of gross national income (GNI), represents a 5% rise when compared to the 2007-2013 budget.
Cameron has requested the budget must be frozen while a compromise is reached; an agreement must be made by all member states and the European Parliament on a new deal.
At home Cameron faces fire on all sides, with eurosceptics from both Conservative and Labour factions expressing their views that the budget is wrong for Britain.
Dr Fox, the Conservative former defence secretary, said it was impossible to justify giving any more to the EU. Likewise, Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told The Times that no extra money at all should flow to Europe.
Within his own party, it is believed 40 to 60 MPs will sign a rebel amendment, which demands a reduction in real-terms spending in future EU negotiations. Those who have already signed include MP for Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith and MP for Stone Bill Cash.
Not all Conservatives, however, support the details of the amendment. Writing for the Conservativehome website, fellow Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom said: “It won't produce the reform that British voters are looking for, and it could ironically result in higher cost to Britain's taxpayers, while damaging our scope for negotiations on the direction of expenditure".
Labour have indicated that they could back the Conservative rebel amendment, which may convert pressure on the EU budget into a Commons majority.
Irrespective of the crisis in Britain, EU leaders will hold a budget summit on 22 and 23 November. If no agreement is reached by the end of next year, the 2013 budget will roll into 2014 with a 2% rise to account for inflation.