Coffee House

EU budget: Focus on Labour’s chutzpah

31 October 2012

5:29 PM

31 October 2012

5:29 PM

The opening exchanges of the Commons debate on the EU budget were, on the whole, rather good for the Prime Minister. They involved Greg Clark making a concerted attack on Labour’s ‘opportunist’ decision to call for a real-terms cut and to support Mark Reckless’ amendment calling for just that. Without irony, Chris Leslie then told the Chamber that Clark was being ‘partisan’ in his speech.

This put Clark and the backbenchers sitting behind him on the defensive. The debate became about Labour rather than the government’s own stance on the issue. Loyal MPs including Nadhim Zahawi pressed Leslie on whether he himself would back a veto at the budget summit if European leaders failed to agree a freeze or a cut. Clark asked him directly whether he would do so. Leslie replied:

‘We have three weeks of negotiations…’


Tory MPs loved this, and united in jeering. Zahawi was particularly excited, roaring, rocking back and forth, and slapping his thighs.

The debate has now moved on to the backbench: Mark Reckless and his team of rebels have a tough task on their hands to turn the thoughts of wavering MPs back to the budget itself and away from fury at the extraordinary chutzpah of the Labour party in trying to use this opportunity to appear fiscally responsible.

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Show comments
  • Fergus Pickering


  • Seanus Ottery

    Zahawi is just a journeyman after promotion by Cameron.. Yes David no David of course David

  • Paddy

    If ever there was an MP with such a smug slappable face…….it is Leslie.

    I can’t believe the taxpayer are paying for these idiots.

    What has happened to MPs with gravitas, respect, honesty, courage and conviction.

  • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

    Talk about cynical partisanship, all this debate confirmed for me was that the Labour party really is prepared to say whatever it takes to whoever wants to hear it in order to get back on the gravy train.

    • telemachus

      No chum
      The Tories have no monopoly on seeking the best deal for the UK
      Difference is in fact that they unlike Cameron are sincere

      • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

        You are mental

        • telemachus

          If by mental you mean always right, you may have a point

          • telekuka

            go fish for kippers

      • The Crunge

        Consistently illogical and vacuous as always claiming that Cameron is insincere without any knowledge of the man whatsoever. Ed Milliband knows as well as David Cameron that any veto of the EU budget would be ineffective. The Commission would cobble together an emergency budget package that required a qualified majority of member states and in all likelihood would produce a larger budget and British contribution. The last government surrendered a substantial element of the British rebate in return for reform of the CAP. Typically, our money was taken and the CAP remains unreformed. We can ignore for the moment the crass stupidity of paying for something before delivery. The fact remains that no reduction of Britains contribution was negotiated during 13 years of Labour rule indeed our contributions increased dramatically. If that is the measure of Ed Milliband’s sincerity then you live in a different and very unattractive moral environment to the rest of us. Just for once surprise us all and construct a reasoned, non-sloganising evidence based response without using the word charisma or any of its derivatives before responding. I live in hope.

        • telemachus

          Curiously I agree with you as do most of the electorate left and right.
          We have seen a wind of change about the European project
          Most folk want semi-detached free trade without CAP, social provisions etc
          Only insincere Cameron is out of step

      • telekuka

        a secret conservative stalks the corridors of failure

  • George_Arseborne

    If the opposition and the government are serious about the cut, then why the debate. Question pose by Nahdin Zahawi is just useless. He is one of Cameron empty praise singer. Well it all shows how Cameron is afraid of Clegg.

    • HooksLaw

      Why debate? Ha, diktat is OK so long as its your diktat eh?

      • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

        Is that you Herman Van Rompuy?

  • MikePreston

    Who’s Clark, who’s Leslie, which party is Zahawi from? This means nothing to me. please indicate which party speakers are from and then I can understand.

    • HooksLaw

      Grow up, stop being infantile. If your IQ is so low ,stick to the CBeebies page.

  • Coffeehousewall

    It is interesting that the Spectator seems to have no interest in the views of the electorate about increasing the levels of our own money being siphoned off to Brussels. It’s not a great big game you know. All politicians are liars. If you step outside of Westminster you will discover that most people could not care less about who votes for what, but are very concerned indeed that in fact less of our money, indeed none of our money, is given Brussels.

    • telemachus

      We are all tired of sanctimonious comments like this.
      What about it Bella-proscription for the Vicar