Richard North, 15/05/2005  

After the relative silence of the Lib-Dims on matters EU during the general election campaign, barely a week has passed since the poll and here they are suggesting that Britain should give up its £2.6 billion rebate, making it the largest net contributor in the Union.

This, according to The Sunday Telegraph, comes from Chris Davies, Euro-luvvie extraordinaire and the party's parliamentary leader.

Davies believes that British ministers should not consider the rebate "sacrosanct". It should instead be traded against reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and a rebalancing of the EU budget between rich and poor states.

Even a Lib-Dim could predict the likely response to this, but with the election safely behind him and his seat guaranteed for four or more years, Davies happily acknowledges that: "The tabloid newspapers will scream betrayal". But, he says, "as it's going to happen anyway Liberal Democrats might as well be the first to say it." And say it he does: "Britain's unique EU budget must go. It can no longer be justified."

All very well and good, but if, in the opinion of the Lib-Dims, the rebate is no longer justified now, it was not justified a few weeks ago, before the general election. What a pity Davies did not think to say it then, or put it in the Party's manifesto.

But then, that might possibly have allowed people to get a taste of the real Lib-Dim agenda and harm Mr Davies's election chances. That would never do.

What a total schmuck.

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