Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget

Labour MEPs voted against the overall call for a budget increase and against a host of outrageous calls to increase spending. But it gets far more interesting than that. For all their bluster Conservative MEPs failed to table a single amendment to the final budget package that would have resulted in a reduction in spending against 2010 levels. It was left to Labour members to propose cuts of more than €1bn to wasteful agricultural subsidies.

Our guest writer is Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour’s leader in the European Parliament

As the government struggles to hit home with its arguments for the biggest cuts in living memory, David Cameron is looking for a diversion to relieve the run of bad headlines. Cue an EU budget battle. Today the prime minister is in Brussels for an EU summit – and he’s briefing anyone who’ll listen about his determination to stand up to EU excess. Conservative politicians and commentators have been desperate to make political capital out of their call for a budget freeze, even if the facts don’t entirely support the story they want to be written.

So this week David Cameron stood up at PMQs to accuse Labour MEPs of backing a European Parliament call for a 5.9 per cent budget increase. Tory aides must have been so busy writing the press release that they forgot to actually check the detail of the vote.

In fact Labour MEPs voted against the overall call for a budget increase and against a host of outrageous calls to increase spending. But it gets far more interesting than that.

For all their bluster Conservative MEPs failed to table a single amendment to the final budget package that would have resulted in a reduction in spending against 2010 levels. It was left to Labour members to propose cuts of more than €1bn to wasteful agricultural subsidies.

The best the Tories could manage was an amendment proposing a non-binding call for a budget freeze – a piece of political posturing that would, at best, have had no actual impact on the overall figures in the budget and, at worst, could have alienated the very people we need to win around to deliver a better value-for-money EU budget.

It is another example of the Tories’ impossible position on EU affairs. Cameron and Hague support the idea of Britain playing a leading role in the EU but allow themselves to be held hostage by backbenchers and an anti-EU press. That’s how they ended up exiled from the mainstream in EU politics. The Tories’ decision to quit the same group as Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP and Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats means that Britain is still the only country to have no voice inside the biggest political group in the European Parliament.

It makes it much harder for those of us in favour of actually achieving proper reform (not just talking about it) to bring other European politicians with us. It’s time for the Tories to make it clear whether their actions are actually about delivering reform, or just delivering headlines.

Update 15:10hrs

The Tories are still spinning that Labour is in favour of the budget rise. The Tory Press HQ just tweeted:

Shadow Foreign Sec Yvette Cooper (BBC): ‘This is not the time [to increase the EU budget].’ Why did Labour MEPs vote against a freeze then??

37 Responses to “Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget”

  1. James Easy

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  2. Pen

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  3. Stace

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  4. Tudor Evans

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  5. DeludedDonny

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  6. Gareth Snell

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  7. FrancisDoherty

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  8. Fionnuala McGoldrick

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  9. Chris Penberthy

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  10. J Clive Matthews

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  11. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  12. Glenis Willmott MEP

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  13. Andrew Burgess

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  14. James Evershed

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  15. Dave Winter

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  16. Simon Lewis

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget //bit.ly/bwJBLD

  17. Kevin leonard

    I am sorry to say that EU membership is one that I do not agree with and feel that we should at the earliest opportunity leave.
    Having read reports of fraudulent activity condoned by our continuing membership without question it is abhorrent to me that so many in the UK face an uncertain future while European members of parliament continue to feed their desire for money and power with absolutely no regard to the well being of their voters.

  18. Tweetminster

    "Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget" //bit.ly/bmHzWh – Left Foot Forward

  19. The Exile

    RT @tweetminster: "Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget" //bit.ly/bmHzWh – Left Foot Forward

  20. Simon

    interesting! RT @tweetminster: Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget //bit.ly/bmHzWh -Left Foot Forward

  21. Lisa Stevens

    RT @tweetminster: "Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget" //bit.ly/bmHzWh – Left Foot Forward

  22. Andy Buckley-Taylor

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  23. Bill Perrett

    RT @tweetminster: "Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget" //bit.ly/bmHzWh – Left Foot Forward

  24. paul archer

    RT @tweetminster: "Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget" //bit.ly/bmHzWh – Left Foot Forward

  25. Julian Huppert

    RT @tweetminster: "Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget" //bit.ly/bmHzWh – Left Foot Forward

  26. Mr Jabberwock

    I have seen it reported elsewhere that Conservatives MEPs tabled an amendment to freeze the budget at 2010 levels and Labour MEPs voted against that amendment. That would be a real terms cut wouldn’t it.

    Is this incorrect or have I been mislead?

  27. Simon Hughes

    RT @tweetminster: "Tories didn’t table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget" //bit.ly/bmHzWh – Left Foot Forward

  28. isla dowds

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  29. vi__sa

    Yes, Labour MEPs voted against the rise, but they did NOT vote in favour of the amendment tabled by the SNP to freeze the budget. Why? The Tories did. What purpose would tabling another amendment have achieved? Please stop spinning. The budget is over a cycle of 7 years – Tony Blair surrendered in 2005 and didn’t use the veto that we DO have. Cameron will use his in 2014.

  30. vi__sa

    @Jabberwock – the SNP tabled that amendment, but yes – Labour voted against it.

  31. Gawain Towler

    Dear Mary, in the Budget Committee when many of the more outrageous items were being voted on, most infamous the 85% increase in the Parliament’s entertainment allowance the Socialist Group, of which Labour MEPs are members abstained, courageously, acording to the Committee Chairman. So don’t come over all moral now.

  32. Christine Burns

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget: //bit.ly/bp31di

  33. Wendy Maddox

    RT @leftfootfwd: For all Cameron's bluster, the Tories didn't table a single amendment to the EU budget package: //bit.ly/bp31di

  34. Nick H.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories didn't table a single amendment to significantly cut EU budget //bit.ly/bwJBLD – Dickheads.

  35. Gareth Jones

    //tinyurl.com/257ow2t UK need to play well with others to make a difference in the EU

  36. Anon E Mouse

    Of course the writer of this article can vote against an increase in the EU budget. According to Guido she claimed £75,765.10 JUST IN EXPENSES ALONE last year.

    This greedy woman is making a fortune out of the EU net contributors and as a so called socialist she should be ashamed of herself.

    As a public servant perhaps Ms Willmott would care to enlighten the readers of this fine blog of exactly how much all in she took from the EU last year…

    I’m not holding my breath btw…

  37. Conservatives battling straw men over Brussels | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

    […] This week, David Cameron has pledged to oppose a 5.9% increase in the European Commission budget which has already been rejected by Finance Ministers and was certain to be rejected by the Council. He has therefore secured a 2.9% increase instead (well, that’s now the most likely outcome – just as it always was! – although none of this is set out in the Council communication) He has claimed that the European Parliament ignored Conservative protests about the budget (although his Conservative MEPs didn’t suggest anyamendments to cut the budget) and that Labour MEPs supported the 5.9% proposal when they actually voted against and proposed cuts, for example in agricultural subsidies – terminological inexactitudes exposed by EPLP Leader Glenis Willmott. […]

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