I’m told that we won’t get any indication of whether there’s a new EU budget proposal that will be able to command support until later this evening. Herman Van Rompuy is holding bilateral with all 27 EU leaders today and only after that will it be clear if the contours of a deal are in place. For his part, David Cameron intends to see — among other countries — the Swedes and the Dutch, who Downing Street regard as Britain’s most reliable allies in this budget negotiation.
One thing that is helping Cameron with Tory MPs is the Le Monde front-page declaring ‘Europe is Britain’s hostage’. It is reassuring them that Cameron is actually taking a proper negotiating position. But if there is deal, it needs to be, at least, a freeze in the Budget. Anything else would be very hard for Cameron to sell to his own side.