Cutting the EU budget is a very good idea. Much of it is spent inefficiently and its priorities are all wrong, 40 percent of it goes on agriculture. Given that a cut would also be popular with voters, why doesn’t David Cameron propose one?
The reason is that there’s virtually no chance of getting agreement to it. If there’s no agreement, the EU will move to annual budgets decided by qualified majority voting—stripping Britain of its veto.
But Labour’s tactical positioning in calling for an EU budget cut has been, as Isabel said earlier, extremely clever. It has left Cameron defending a complicated position which puts him on the wrong side of public opinion and many of his own MPs. It has also reduced the political impact of any Cameron veto, as he’ll now look rather like he’s been pushed into it.