EU budget veto threat is 'absolutely ludicrous', says Ken Clarke
It is “absolutely ludicrous” for the UK to go to Brussels intending to veto the EU budget, Ken Clarke said today.
The Cabinet minister added that such a position would be "absurd".
He was speaking after Prime Minister David Cameron said last night that he would veto the financial package if it was not a good deal for Britain.
"It's absolutely ludicrous to go there intending to veto," Mr Clarke said.
"It's just absurd."
Speaking after an event at the Policy Exchange think-tank in central London, the Minister without Portfolio went on: "Every one of the 27 member states has a veto. What they've got to do is reach a negotiated situation.
"Of course people have a veto.
"Any government will veto it if it goes too far in one direction or the other.
"The Commons vote doesn't tie anybody to anything."
Mr Clarke sought to clarify his remarks, saying: "The clear meaning of what I said was that we cannot go intending to exercise a veto before we actually arrive.
"But we have an undoubted right to exercise a veto if we cannot negotiate a satisfactory conclusion."
Referring to the Prime Minister and the Commons vote, Mr Clarke added that it "just strengthens his negotiating position".
Last night, Mr Cameron said he would listen very carefully to Parliament after Tory backbenchers inflicted a stinging defeat on the coalition over the EU budget.
But the Prime Minister insisted the Government was taking the toughest ever approach to the negotiations over how much Britain paid to Brussels.
"Of course I will listen carefully to Parliament but we should be absolutely clear this Government is taking the toughest approach to the EU budget of any government in this country's history," he told a Downing Street press conference.
"If we don't get what I consider to be a good deal for Britain, I have no hesitation in vetoing the multi-financial package."
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Bloody attack brings terror to capital’s streets
German chancellor Angela Merkel named most powerful woman in the world by Forbes - again
World news in pictures
Eyewitness gives extraordinary account of her confrontation with Woolwich attackers
- 1 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Bloody attack brings terror to capital’s streets
- 2 Mothers' diets may harm IQs in two-thirds of babies
- 4 Eyewitness gives extraordinary account of her confrontation with Woolwich attackers
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.