Govt beaten on EU budget vote
The Government has been defeated on a vote calling for a real-terms cut to the European Union budget after 53 Tory MPs rebelled.
The non-binding amendment, put forward by Conservative MP Mark Reckless, was won 307-294 after garnering support from Labour as well as rebelling backbenchers. In response, Downing Street promised to listen to the Commons: "Of course we regret not winning. But it's a take-note motion and we take note of the will of the Commons"
"I think what we see today is MPs coming together to reflect the interest of their constituents, when we’re seeing such big cuts at home, to demand at least some reduction, because the profligacy of the spending there is just so extreme. I just think MPs want to say ‘enough’," Mr Reckless told the Today programme this morning.
Government sources admitted they were likely to lose the vote in the hour leading up to the debate, and Downing Street had played down the impact of the outcome on the UK’s negotiating position when negotiations take place over the EU budget next month.
“Our position will still be the same which is that we will argue for the best deal for the UK,” the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson said today.
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions earlier today, David Cameron said he was prepared to use his veto to defend Britain's interests, and also accused Ed Miliband of "complete opportunism" for backing the amendment.
A Labour party spokesman said that voting for the amendment was in line with Labour MPs voting earlier this year to cut the EU budget.
But addressing Mr Miliband at Prime Minister's Questions today, Mr Cameron said: "This Government is taking the toughest line in these budget negotiations of any government since we joined the EU. At best we would like it cut, at worst frozen and I'm quite prepared to use the veto if we don't get a deal that's good for Britain…
"Labour's position is one of complete opportunism, they gave away half the rebate, they sent the budget through the roof and now they want to posture rather than get a good deal for Britain." Catch up on all the PMQs action with our liveblog from earlier today.