By Paul Goodman
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There are conflicting views at present about where Conservative Euro-revolts go next. One is that they peaked on the vote over an EU referendum. Another is that they will climb higher if Britain enters any new treaty negotiations without a repatriation of powers proposal. My view is the latter (were the Government to present a bill based on such a treaty).
But either way, it is worth recording briefly that a Government motion relating to future EU budgets was passed yesterday evening without a Tory backbench amendment. Both a source loyal to the Government and a rebel used the same phrase to me yesterday about potential future rebellions – "guerilla warfare".
In other words, they are united in agreeing that rebellions will be back sooner or later, but for the moment there is no appetite for more among most of the 81 Conservative MPs who voted against the Government on the referendum motion. I think that Tracey Crouch's letter to Mark Pritchard last week rather caught the mood.
The motion, which was carried without a division, was:
"That this House takes note of European Union Documents Nos. 12478/11 and Addenda 1 and 2, 12474/11, 12480/11, 12483/11, 12475/11 and Addenda 1 to 3, and 12484/11, relating to the Commission’s proposal on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), 2014-20; agrees with the Government, that at a time of ongoing economic fragility in Europe and tight constraints on domestic public spending, the Commission’s proposal for very substantial spending increases compared with current spend is unacceptable, unrealistic, too large and incompatible with the tough decisions being taken in the UK and in countries across Europe to bring deficits under control and stimulate economic growth, that the next MFF must see significant improvements in the financial management of EU resources by the Commission and by Member States and in the value for money of spend and that the proposed changes to the UK abatement and new taxes to fund the EU budget are completely unacceptable and an unwelcome distraction from the pressing issues that the EU needs to address; and supports the Government’s ongoing efforts to reduce the Commission’s proposed budget."
The Conservative Members who spoke during the debate were:
- John Redwood (Wokingham)
- Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire)
- William Cash (Stone)
- Anne Main (St Albans)
- Greg Hands (Chelsea and Fulham)
- John Baron (Basildon and Billericay)
- Brian Binley (Northampton South)
- Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
- Richard Drax (South Dorset)
- Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset)
- Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole)
- Andrew Bingham (High Peak)
- David Nuttall (Bury North)
The debate can be read on the Hansard website here.