12th October 2012
A vote in the European Parliaments budget committee yesterday has put the European Parliament on a collision course with the British Government at next month's emergency summit. It was hoped that the November meeting might crack the deadlock over the European Union's next seven year budget framework that runs from 2014 until 2020, that hope now looks fragile indeed.
A large majority of MEPs on the committee voted through a string of demands for extra spending, for the EU to have the power to tax citizens directly - and, even worse they are calling for an end to Margaret Thatcher's hard won British rebate.
My colleagues and I had been calling for a budget freeze, although we would have preferred a cut, in tough economic times and have vigorously opposed all attempts to raise direct taxation for the EU or to remove the UK rebate.
By contrast, the committee called on the EU Council not to oppose the Commission's demand for a 5% spending increase. Sadly other MEPs have shown themselves again to be out of touch with economic and political reality.
The UK government does not stand alone in insisting that spending must be frozen in these tough times. Nor will we allow the EU to directly tax European citizens.
Above all else, Britain's rebate will not be handed back, we will not be having a repeat of Tony Blair's previous betrayal that cost the British taxpayer billions of pounds.
I expect these demands to be vetoed until such time as common sense prevails.