In a historic triumph for David Cameron, the EU budget is set to be trimmed by nearly 6% next year.
Back in February, David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel persuaded the Council of Ministers that, with every county in Europe facing extreme austerity, the EU should bear a share of the savings which have to be made.
I strongly support this. At a time when individuals, families and businesses throughout Europe are short of money, and so are public services in every field, it would be crazy if the EU were the one organisation in Europe to be exempt.
There were two votes, one vote on a Conservative/ECR motion to accept the summit deal (and cut the EU's budget ceiling) and another vote on a second motion to reject the budget deal as it currently stood, asking for more EU spending and extra taxes on all European taxpayers (particularly British ones.)
For British voters two things particularly stand out:
1) LIB/DEMS AND GREENS VOTED FOR EXTRA EU SPENDING AND HIGHER TAXES
The majority of Lib/Dem and Greens MEPs voted AGAINST the proposal to accept the budget cut and FOR the motion to reject it in the original form and demand higher spending and more taxes.
In other words they voted against cutting spending and taxes, and FOR higher taxes on British and European taxpayers. Nick Clegg quickly distanced himself from his MEPs but that's still the position they took.
Two or three Lib/Dem MEPs abstained or did not vote.
2) UKIP MEPS VOTED AGINST THE PROPOSAL TO CUT THE EU BUDGET
UKIP sent out conflicting signals about how they were going to vote. In the end those UKIP members of the European Parliament who were present voted against both motions.
The summit deal which proposes the first ever cut in the EU's budget ceiling and MFF had to be approved by the parliament to come into effect. If it had not been approved, the previous budget would stand. Since UKIP voted against that approval, they were effectively voting for the higher previous budget.
So UKIP voted against a cut in the EU budget.
The far-right British National Party's MEPs split, but it is worth noting that their chairman, North West MEP Nick Griffin, also voted against the Conservative motion to accept the summit. So in the North West, a vote for the BNP is also a vote AGAINST cutting the EU budget.
There is a useful "Votewatch.eu" website here where you can see how MEPs have voted on a wide range of issues by name, by country and by political group.
1) The votewatch page for the original vote in March on the motion to accept the summit's proposed budget cut can be found at
Note that on this motion a vote for (Green thumbs up sign) means a vote to support the summit resolution for a cut in the MFF budget ceiling.
A red thumbs down on this motion is a vote against the budget cut. And, although they're not exactly shouting it from the rooftops, that is how the UKIP delegation voted.
They said this was because the proposed budget is still too high, but this was not a very sensible position to take for the reason I have already explained, e.g. that if the parliament had not ratified a new deal as it eventually did this week, we would have been stuck with the previous, higher budget ceiling.
As far as I can tell UKIP have got themselves into an ideological cul-de-sac whereby they can't vote for an EU budget, even a reduced one, even if that meant that the higher MFF previously agreed still stood. And even if that means putting ideology before the interests of the British taxpayers they were elected to represent.
2) The votewatch page for the vote on the motion in March to reject the proposed budget in its' original form and demand higher contributions, more spending and new taxes can be found at
In this case a vote against (red thumbs down) means a vote against more spending and higher taxes, a vote for (green thumbs up) means a vote for higher spending, higher British contributions and new taxes paid to the EU.