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Ken ‘clarity’ Clarke says EU budget veto would be ‘absurd’

2 November 2012

Wise gamblers could do worse than to place a hefty bet every time Ken Clarke expresses an opinion that he’ll have to clarify it shortly afterwards. The minister without portfolio said at a Policy Exchange event this morning that it would be ‘absurd’ for Britain to go to Brussels intending to veto the EU budget. He said:

‘It’s absolutely ludicrous to go there intending to veto. It’s just absurd.

‘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 if it goes too far in one direction or the other.’

And a little later, he duly clarified his remarks:

‘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.’

Clarke makes the same point as Angela Merkel did when she threatened to cancel the summit because of the veto threat: that there wouldn’t be any point in holding the summit if David Cameron plans to veto any deal on the table other than a real-terms freeze. Downing Street has been preparing the ground for a veto moment, which Cameron knows will be good for his own standing, by describing the demand for a freeze as ‘challenging’. While he’s not travelling to Brussels in a few weeks’ time intending to apply the veto from the outset, it’s the most likely outcome.

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  • Barbara Stevens

    Cameron should heed what his backbenchers did this week; its a warning. We are now reading that the elderly will lose all life savings with the need for care as they get really old; including their homes. Yet, we can afford billions if foreign aid, and our contribution to the expensive club over the channel, which we don’t want. I’ve never in all my life thought I’d see Conservatives allowing this to happen, or is it the blackmailing of Lib Dems that stops rational from being used? Clegg is forever saying he won’t allow this or that, yet, his party is now round about 7% in the polls and getting less each day and dispised. He does not have any mandate at all, Cameron does but not enough to rule. Of course Cameron cannot do has he pleases being in a coalition, but he has given far to much away and allowing far to many Lib Dems into the cabinet was a misjudgement for the level of MPs they have. Giving our money away to foriegners against the wishies of the electorate, while they suffer is not right or acceptable. If any MP want to give money away they should spend their own and not the states. I think the recent backbenchers have showed that democracy is still working, and those over the Channel should take note, you cannot kill it off by silly laws, and threats.

  • David Lindsay

    We all know about Ken Clarke.

  • Son of Nineveh

    Ken is a man with secrets.

  • Kevin

    describing the demand for a freeze as ‘challenging’

    Has Cameron heard of exposure therapy? Pick a political leader who does not intimidate you and practise saying “No”. Cristina Kirchner, for example. See how life goes on? Good.

    Now stick it to Merkel.

  • Justathought

    The amendment that was passed ” Calls on the government to strengthen its stance that the next MSF is REDUCED in REAL TERMS”.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel is making a mistake, our Parliament is sovereign and cannot be intimidated.

    Hague may admire Lord Castlereagh for the diplomatic skills deployed during the Concert of Europe but he should remember that Castlereagh is one of the most hated political figures in British political history.

  • Chas

    I normally enjoy these snapshot updates but this one doesn’t seem necessary as the meaning in Clarke’s initial statement is pretty clear…

  • Mirtha Tidville

    Isnt it truely time this bumbling Old Fart was finally put out to grass….I had the misfortune to meet him once, came across as arrogant and unpleasant..

  • dalai guevara

    If a UK veto is applied, budget sign-off will revert to a YOY procedure which could easily be passed by majority voting without any meaningful UK input.

    Is that the plan B? You are a bunch of jokers, aren’t you?

    • Henry Male

      There never seems to be a good answer to this point – a veto would leave us worse off than a real terms freeze.

      • dalai guevara

        A 3% rise in a budget (that now covers expansion) is a real terms c u t, when considering the actual level of inflation that you and I experience.

        • an ex-tory voter

          3% rise is 3% more going out of the UK whilst benefits are being cut.

          • dalai guevara

            Yes, I also have my issues with what IDS is up to.

            • an ex-tory voter

              I have no issue with IDS or his plans. Ed Balls on the other hand is a different matter.

              • dalai guevara

                Ed Balls is not an issue if you delay the LibCon collaspe which is currently unfolding in front of our eyes.
                IDS’s key message is: cut £10bn of welfare, no if no but. The 16h work/tax hurdle is what is preventing single mums et al from working more legally. It is simply the wrong message.

      • an ex-tory voter

        The answer is simple, tell them our contribution will fall and then make arrangements to ensure it does just that.

  • HooksLaw

    His remarks were indeed clear – ‘Of course people have a veto. Any government will veto if it goes too far in one direction or the other.’

    But if you go looking to cause trouble you can. Yours is the easy job Ms Hardman.

    • an ex-tory voter

      The only grossly misleading thing is DC and his government,europhiles in general and the EU itself.

  • In2minds

    This remark will help at Corby!

    • David Lindsay

      Nothing could have helped his party at Corby.

  • Vulture

    The Europhile Gang of Four : Clarke, Patten, Heseltine and….er…MacShame.

    And of course Dave to carry their bags.

    • telemachus

      I think Ken should join us.
      What about
      Ken at Home
      Balls at No 11
      Mili Major back at the FCO
      And of Course Mili Major holding the Number 10 fort until The Shadow Chancellor takes over in 2016

      • Robert_Eve

        Dream on.

      • MikeBrighton

        Are you Ed Balls in disguise?

        • telemachus

          Were I to be so faited

          • EndOfTrolls

            Or even fated. See post about GCSE failings.

            • Dicky14

              He said a bit back he had a 1st from Oxford – yeah, right. He may be Balls, he spouts enough shite.

              • EndOfTrolls

                If he has anything more than a GCSE in needlework then I am Eddie Balls Jr

                • telemachus

                  You would be surprised
                  It was not in English

                • EndOfTrolls

                  Let me guess, it was North London Polytechnic and Social Studies followed by teachers training college and a lifetime as a ‘public servant’.

                • telemachus

                  Wrong son I have my own SME which contrary to the recession is doing well
                  (perhaps because I have partly transferred.ed the running to my son)
                  If you tell me your college I will meet you at our next Gaudy-‘ I usually stay at the Old Parsonage

                • EndOfTrolls

                  Any fool can google Oxbridge colleges and pretend they got a first. Unless you are prepared to give name, college, year and subject you can’t spoof me. And i am not like you spoon-fed toff psuedo-marxists, I never had the opportunities you lot had.

                • telemachus

                  Like all Marxists I am little concerned what folk like you think or do

                • EndOfTrolls

                  It would appear from your constant posting here that what folk like me think or do is all that concerns you. I have never seen your ridiculous mutterings anywhere else.

                • telemachus

                  Do you visit Labour List

                • EndOfTrolls

                  Why on earth would I visit Labour Lost? Only a troll would visit and constantly post on a site antithecal to his beliefs, don’t you agree?

                • Austin Barry

                  Telemachus has a Phd. in Bollockology from the University of Couilles.

                • Dicky14

                  Tap dance?

                • keith

                  Wood work?

          • EJ

            Oh for god’s sake

            • telemachus

              You want the wall

          • IRISHBOY

            Try fêted.

    • EJ

      This bloated old multi-millionaire duffer should just shut up and s*d off. He’s totally out of touch with popular opinion on almost every issue and every time he opens his mouth (when he’s actually awake) he alienates yet more conservative supporters.

      • Austin Barry

        Well, Ken may have other things on his mind.

  • the baracus

    Why do we let these professional politicians negotiate on our behalf? They have no understanding of how life works outside of Westminster. Imagine playing Poker where you deal your own cards face up and then try and bluff……..

  • an ex-tory voter

    So DC is intending to cut Welfare spending at the same time as agreeing a several billions increase in our contribution to the EU.
    Personally, I don’t care whether he achieves a freeze, or exercises a veto, if he does not achieve a reduction, he has failed.

    A reduction may be difficult and it may be unpopular in Brussels, Berlin and elsewhere. But, when faced with the dire state of the nation’s finances it is not IMPOSSIBLE. And if it is impossible then DC and all the other europhiles need to justify exactly what financial benefit accrues to the UK by remaining in this federal club. If he cannot justify it while cutting benefits to his own electorate he should resign now.

    • Russell

      If Cameron cannot get the EU to cut its budget, he should say the UK is going to withhold ALL payments to the EU and let them take it to court for a few years.

    • HooksLaw

      Where do you get your ‘several’ billions increase from?

      This year the EU budget is EUR 129 billion. Even if we paid all of that at a 5% increase it would be 6.5 billion or say £5 billion.
      So in your fantasy even if the EU get the whole of the increase they want – we the UK are paying it all.

      BTW we pay about 75 euros net per head. Germany pays 240.

      • an ex-tory voter

        I don’t give a tinkers cuss what the Germans choose to pay, they are not responsible for funding our Welfare.
        As for our contribution. Any rise at all whilst we are stripping out welfare is “unnacceptable”

      • Sean

        £5 billion here, £5 billion there, when it all adds up you could be talking about a tidy some. £10 billion over two years, couldn’t that pay for a few more failed train franchise bids or maybe two or three more runways somewhere?

  • eeore

    So says Bilderberg….

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