Pat McFadden, Labour's new Shadow Europe Minister, responds to the request by the European Commission for an increase in the UK's contribution to the EU budget.
Pat McFadden said:
“It's unacceptable that the outgoing EU Commission should spring a backdated bill on member states in this way, but UK Ministers have known about this since last week.
“The Government should be pushing for the best deal possible for the UK. The Prime Minister must now make up for lost time, and should be working in step with other affected Member States, including the Netherlands and Italy.
“This is a proposal made by the outgoing EU Commission, and with a new Commission taking office imminently. So it is imperative that David Cameron now urgently discuss this with other member states, and urges the incoming EU Commission to look again at the proposed change.
“Labour argued against the proposed increase in EU spending in 2012, and voted for a real-terms cut in the EU budget then. We have argued for reform of the EU budget, including a greater focus on generating growth and jobs, and for the EU to undertake a zero-based review of all spending by EU agencies.”
Responding to reports that the UK Treasury was warned about the increase in January and that George Osborne knew about it in advance of the European Council summit, Pat McFadden added:
“David Cameron has clearly failed to answer questions about how long the UK Government has known about these proposals from the EU Commission and what has been done about it since.
“The UK’s Office for National Statistics published a report over five months ago detailing the changes made to UK growth figures which it clearly stated were for use in the calculation of a Member State’s contribution to the EU budget.
“Did the Government delay making news public about this expected revision to the UK’s EU contribution because of fears about how it would play out for the Conservative Party?
“David Cameron needs to be prepared to work for the best outcome for Britain in Brussels, and that has to come before any narrow party interests at home.”