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Exposed: Labour MEPs voted against freezing the EU Budget as their shadow Europe minister claims they support such a move

By Jonathan Isaby

European-parliament-strasbourg-inside As David Cameron is in Brussels trying to persuade fellow national leaders of the folly of a 5.9% rise in the EU Budget, it's worth noting how Labour have actually acted on the issue.

Last Wednesday, MEPs voting on a resolution setting out the European Parliament's position on the EU Budget were presented with the following amendment proposed by Tory MEP James Elles which would have frozen the Budget:

"Understands the concern expressed by some delegations in the Council that the pressures on Member States' budgets are particularly heavy for the financial year 2011 and that savings are all the more necessary; notes that several Member States are cutting back their budgets (for example Germany and the UK); believes that increases should not be rushed through at what is a particularly difficult moment for the EU and Member States; believes, for this reason, the only responsible approach on long-term trends is for a freeze at 2010 levels;"

The following ten of Labour's thirteen MEPs voted against such a freeze:

  • Richard Howitt
  • Stephen Hughes
  • Michael Cashman
  • Arlene McCarthy
  • David Martin
  • Brian Simpson
  • Peter Skinner
  • Catherine Stihler
  • Derek Vaughan
  • Glenis Willmott 

This makes the words of shadow Europe minister Wayne David seem rather shallow, since he said today that "it is imperative that we have a freeze on the EU budget". 

Labour are saying one thing in London and doing another in Brussels.