Wednesday’s crunch vote on the EU budget will show precisely where parliament stands in relation to the EU.
As we are all facing cuts, or changes in government spending depending on your perspective, we can all agree that it is not right for the government to send more to the EU. Let us remember the EU hasn’t had its accounts signed off in 17 years. If it was a business, the EU would have been shut down years ago.
The vote demanded by Tory backbenchers Mark Reckless and Mark Pritchard will be a test of strength for parliament. A vote to deny the EU any increase will put the Prime Minister in a difficult position, especially if he wants a 2% increase.
If the will of parliament is ignored, just as was threatened with votes for prisoners, we have a constitutional crisis that has been decades in the making. I say decades because Foreign Office papers disclosed from our entry state that Community Law overrides domestic law and if a domestic statute conflicts with Community Law, then the domestic law must go. Alright, parliament is not passing a law against an increase in the EU budget but the principle is there. The EU is supreme.
Ultimately there will be a Mexican stand-off between the EU and parliament. On the one hand parliament could, through an alliance of Tory backbenchers and Labour, block any increase in the EU budget. On the other, the EU wants a 6.8% increase. Whichever side wins in this struggle, it will show that our present position in the EU is unsustainable as the EU will demand ridiculous increases on a yearly basis. It will demonstrate that we need that In/Out Referendum, because that is the only choice the British people want.