Backbench demand for EU budget veto thwarts Cameron's bid to set the agenda

Hague to warn that EU could disintegrate because of a lack of democratic mandate

David Cameron's attempt to restore his authority suffered a setback yesterday as he was hit by a new Conservative backbench rebellion over Europe.

The Prime Minister was caught between a rock and a hard place after Tory MPs demanded that he veto the €1 trillion European Union budget for 2014-20, just as he was deserted by key allies, including Germany, in his battle to freeze EU spending.

Tory MPs expressed fears that Mr Cameron is winning the political argument with Labour but in danger of losing the next election because he is failing to get his message over to voters. Some are dismayed that, a week after his widely praised speech to the party conference, he was blown off course by his botched announcement about keeping down energy bills and the long-delayed resignation of Andrew Mitchell as Chief Whip.

Europe has now risen to the top of Mr Cameron's agenda ahead of a summit of EU leaders next month to decide on spending. Two years ago, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland were among countries backing Britain's call for the budget to remain flat in real terms. But yesterday the German government revealed that it is backing a "moderate" increase to about 1 per cent of European gross domestic product, less than the 1.1 per cent proposed by the European Commission, but a move which leaves the UK isolated.

In the Commons, Mr Cameron pledged that Britain would "stick to our guns". But Downing Street stopped short of saying he would block the EU budget unless spending is frozen, even though he has a veto as it must be approved by all 27 member states.

Mr Cameron, who will hold talks with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in London on 7 November, said neither country was prepared to back further big rises in spending. "I don't believe that German voters want that any more than British voters," he said. In a speech in Berlin today, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, will warn bluntly that the EU could become "democratically unsustainable" unless countries such as Britain are allowed to regain powers from it rather than cede more control to Brussels.

While insisting the Government is committed to playing "a leading role" in the EU, Mr Hague will say: "Public disillusionment with the EU in Britain is the deepest it has ever been. People feel that in too many ways the EU is something that is done to them, not something over which they have a say.

"People feel that the EU is a one-way process, a great machine that sucks up decision-making from national parliaments to the European level until everything is decided by the EU. That needs to change. If we cannot show that decision-making can flow back to national parliaments then the system will become democratically unsustainable."

He will call for a "flexible" EU which does "not disadvantage those that do not wish to participate in everything". Number 10's refusal to declare its hand on the EU budget fuelled Tory fears of a climbdown. John Redwood, the former Cabinet minister, said: "Some of us would like him [Mr Cameron] to veto any budget which does not cut the [EU] figure substantially, given the chronic state of many European governments' finances."

Another Eurosceptic, Douglas Carswell, warned: "Mr Cameron is simply not going to get a majority in the Commons unless he recognises there can't be a real-terms increase in the EU budget." Tory backbencher Nick de Bois said the Government was struggling to communicate its policy successes. "The real problem is we're actually winning the policy arguments but we're losing some of the politics that go around it," he said.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam