North Somerset MP Liam Fox piles pressure on Prime Minister in EU row
North Somerset MP Liam Fox has ramped up the pressure on the Prime Minister by calling for cuts in the UK’s contribution to the EU.
The former Defence Secretary said it would be “obscene” to hand more money to Brussels while so many Britons were out of work.
David Cameron is facing a fresh mutiny after Tory backbenchers and Labour demanded a real-terms cut in the budget, which will be set in the coming weeks.
The European Commission wants to hike contributions by five per cent over the next seven years. Mr Cameron, who has the power to veto the budget, wants to see contributions rise with inflation, around two per cent.
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But many Tories want the budget frozen in real terms or slashed, while Labour has joined their calls, leading to a crunch Commons vote this week. Dr Fox has become a key figure on the Right of the Conservative Party since leaving the Cabinet a year ago.
He said: “In a continent where a generation of young people are unemployed as a result of the ever-closer EU ideology, the idea that you would even increase for inflation the inflated wages of the Eurocrats is obscene.”
MPs will debate the Government’s negotiating strategy at the forthcoming EU summit. Tory MPs Mark Reckless and Mark Pritchard have tabled an amendment insisting any budget rises be below inflation, which could lead to a defeat for Mr Cameron.
But Dr Fox’s fellow Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg, who represents North East Somerset, said this would be “cutting off our nose to spite our face” and will back the Government.
Mr Rees-Mogg said other countries would never accept cuts to the EU budget and said the Government should secure a real-terms freeze.