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EU handout now at risk of increasing, says city MP
1:30pm Friday 2nd November 2012 in News
BRITAIN’S handouts to the EU are at risk of increasing after the Government suffered an embarrassing commons defeat, says Worcester MP Robin Walker.
Mr Walker revealed he refused to vote on an amendment calling for Britain’s contribution to be cut because it was “unrealistic”.
David Cameron was trying to get MPs to agree a seven-year freeze in the country’s EU payments between now and 2020.
But 53 Tory MPs teamed up with Labour to call for a “real-terms cut” in spending after a stormy debate on Wednesday night.
All Worcestershire’s MPs sided with the Government, saying unless a freeze was agreed there was a risk other member states will ask Britain to look at its contribution to Europe on a yearly basis.
Mr Walker said: “Because this hasn’t been agreed, it is now far more likely we’ll have to negotiate the EU budget annually, which leaves us at risk of it increasing.
“I thought about it long and hard because I’m instinctively Eurosceptic, but it was not realistic to say to Europe ‘we want a real-term cut’ in our contribution.
“We would all like to see a reduction, but we have missed a chance to send a clear mandate to the EU that we want a freeze.”
Government supporters said it would be nigh-on impossible to negotiate a budget reduction given the lack of support among other EU nations, and urged MPs to back Mr Cameron’s call for an inflation-linked rise as the minimum acceptable outcome.
But the rebels teamed up to secure a majority of 307 to 294. In the last financial year, the UK made a net contribution of £8.9 million to the EU.