Peter Bone MP says the Government has a "moral duty" to freeze the UK contribution to the European Union
Confirmation this week of the impending increase in the UK's contribution to European Union coffers has not gone down well with Peter Bone, the Conservative MP for Wellingborough.
On Mr Bone's calculations, which take the UK's net contribution this year as being £2.5 billion, next year's projected figure of £6.4 billion therefore represents an increase of 156%.
He is now calling for a freeze in the UK contribution, which he suggests would be a "cut in public expenditure that would be welcomed by virtually every citizen in the United Kingdom" at a time when families are facing financial hardship and key public services are facing cuts.
"Our contributions to the European Union should be frozen at the 2009 level of £2.5 billion. It is outrageous to increase our contributions to £6.4 billion in the midst of a devastating recession. Why should British taxpayers increase their subsidy of Spanish, Greek, Belgian, Portuguese and Irish citizens when our own country is facing such hardships?
"When Tony Blair and Gordon Brown agreed to reduce our European Union rebate. so valiantly fought for by Mrs Thatcher, it was on the promise that the Common Agricultural Policy budget would be slashed. The idea was that though our rebate would be less our net contributions would not go up because the overall budget of the European Union would have been dramatically cut.
"Five times this summer I have challenged Ministers, including the Prime Minister, to freeze our contributions. Every time they have sided with European farmers rather than British families. The British Government, I would argue, has the moral right and the absolute duty not to increase our contributions to the European Union."