Cameron’s €uro-Frankenstorm
Labour and Tories Throw Halloween Budget Grenade

The call in the Times this morning from Douglas Alexander and Ed Balls for a “real-terms cut” in the EU budget would have been uncomfortable enough for the PM, who is proposing an by-inflation rise, if it were not for a coordinated sting from his own party. Leaving aside the irony of Labour  jumping on this bandwagon after a decade and a half of surrendering the rebate and rubber stamping vast increases in the EU budget, a perfect storm is brewing for the PM.

When the tediously titled “EU budget simplification and the multi annual financial framework motion” reaches the Commons on Wednesday, both Mark Reckless and Mark Pritchard, the doyens of the new Tory awkward squad, are throwing very large spanners in the works. Pritchard’s amendment will call for no rise at all, while Reckless will argue for a cut. A purple plot is forming with Labour going through the lobby with the Tory rebels. A source close to the fun and games on the Tory side coughed this morning that the storm is “not entirely uncoordinated.”

UPDATE: Reckless has written at length on the plan:

“I and other Conservative colleagues are supporting an amendment to say that there must be at least some constraint on EU spending. Although many of us would wish to see a substantial reduction in EU spending, at least in line with cuts at home, today we are only asking the government to strengthen its stance so that there is some real terms reduction in the EU budget.”

Which is pretty much what Labour said this morning…



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Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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