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Local MP urges cut in EU budget

1st November 2012
Local MP urges cut in EU budget

Local MP Gordon Henderson was one of the leaders of the backbench Conservatives who tabled an amendment calling on the Government to demand a real terms cut in the EU budget. The amendment was backed by the Labour Party which ensured it was passed.

Mr Henderson put in an application to speak in the debate but in the event was not called because debating time ran out.

If called Mr Henderson would have said:

“At the last General Election I promised my constituents that I would always put their interests before party politics and I have endeavoured to do just that.

“Obviously, there have been occasions when I have had to take decisions that upset one of other special interest group, such as my decision to support a limited cull of badgers to finally provide the evidence needed to determine whether a wider cull would be successful in combating bovine TB, but I believe that even on contentious issues such as that, I reflect the majority view in my constituency.

“On other occasions, as today, my stance on a particular issue has put me at odds with my party leadership, however, I have never voted against the Government lightly and I do not feel proud when I have been forced to do so.

“I have supported the Government on many occasions when tough and unpopular decisions have had to be taken, such as increasing student tuition fees, the reforms to the NHS and the Welfare Benefits System, but once again, even those tough decisions are supported by a majority of the people in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

“They understand that the Coalition Government had to take some difficult decisions to clear up the economic mess inherited from the previous administration.

“Whilst they don’t like seeing a reduction in our Armed Forces, or the police, or some of the other public services, they do understand why the Government has been forced to make those cuts.

“However, they don’t understand why the Government has not made cuts in the International Development aid budget, nor will they understand it if the Government refuses to insist on cuts to the European Union budget.

“That is why I will be supporting this Conservative amendment when we vote later this evening.

“I accept fully that the Prime Minister is determined to get the best possible deal for Britain when he negotiates the MMF in a few weeks time and I trust him to do just that.

“I accept also that the Government genuinely believes that the only realistic chance of a deal with all the other EU countries is to hold out for an increase no greater than inflation.

“Ministers might well be right and it might be the most sensible thing to do, but that does not necessarily make it the right thing to do.

“I think on this occasion Britain should be sending a clear message to the EU that we are all in the same economic mess and we all have to make sacrifices.

“The EU is expecting member states to impose austerity budgets on its citizens, now European commissioners and MEPs have to be told that it is time for them to take a dose of the same medicine.

“If the Prime Minister insists on an MFF reduction in real terms he might upset the leaders of the other EU countries, but he will be applauded by not only the British People, but by citizens across Europe who so often feel let down by their own leaders.

“Now I know that there are a number of colleagues on this side of the chamber who will find it difficult to support this amendment because it will mean going through the Aye lobby with members of the Opposition.

“I am more sanguine. There a number of members sitting on the Labour benches whose stance against the excesses of the European Union have been consistent and the honourable members for Bolsover, Luton North and Vauxhall spring to mind.

“If their honourable and right honourable colleagues are willing to sell down the river their own pro EU principles for short term political advantage then who are we to complain?

“When the Labour Europhiles revert to type, as they will when the occasion suits them, at least we Eurosceptics will be able to still look our constituents in the eyes and know that we have never compromised our own beliefs.

“I urge my colleagues on the Government benches to swallow their reservations about joining in the lobby members of an opportunistic Opposition, some of whom have neither integrity nor any feeling of shame, and join us in the Aye lobby at the end of this debate.”

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