View from Parliament by John Howell: ‘Europe, we wanted to secure a good deal for Britain’

John Howell MP
John Howell MP

When we are taking difficult decisions at home over public spending it would be quite wrong to agree proposals for extra spending in the EU.

That is why the Prime Minister negotiated for a good deal for Britain’s taxpayers and to keep the British rebate.

This was the toughest position that any Prime Minister has ever gone for in EU Budget negotiations, which is a freeze in EU spending. We wanted to secure a good deal for the British people.

Of course we would like a cut but we have to be realistic about what can be negotiated with other Member States.

The Commission’s proposal states that it is demonstrating restraint, in line with member states. This is absolutely not the case.

The budget proposed by them is too large and it is incompatible with the tough decisions being taken in countries across Europe. Under the Commission’s proposal, on average, spend in each year of the next multiannual budget will be around €14 billion higher than it is today.

The UK was joined by seven other Member States in calling for budgetary restraint.

The UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and Finland issued a statement saying that the new round “should not lead to an increase in national contributions to the EU budget.”

We have made significant progress in protecting Britain’s interests in Europe. This Government has already taken action to protect Britain’s interests in the EU:

We’ve introduced a Referendum Lock to ensure that in future the British people will have their say on any proposed transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. We’ve ended UK participation in EU bailouts. We have vetoed a new EU fiscal treaty.

We will continue to work constructively to get a deal, but it cannot be a deal at any cost.

The British people expect us to fight hard for the best deal for them, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.