“How dare you keep us late this evening, Carswell!” demanded an old-school front-bench colleague.
Together with thirty four other Conservative MPs – including many from the 2010 intake - I’ve tabled a motion suggesting that the government might not like to increase our EU budget contribution by almost £2 Billion. Under government proposals, the UK’s net transfer to EU institutions is set to rise from £6.4 Billion to £8.3 Billion, or almost 30 percent.
With the government poised to cut spending on public services, how can that be right? It means we’d be cutting UK public services, and then spending a large chunk of the “savings” on Eurocrats.
If selected, my motion could mean MPs having to debate the EU budget contribution until 10pm. By staying on a couple of hours extra, MPs could save £2 billion – or £15,833,000 per minute. Or enough to fund half a dozen nurses or police officers each second. Worth hanging around in the tea rooms for a little longer, surely?
We often hear people talk about the “new politics”. Well here it is. MPs doing their job holding government to account for how it spends our money.
To paraphrase a famous Liverpool song; "We all dream of a team of Carswells", Politics would be much better for it.
*Note: It's worth pointing out that through no fault of his own Carswell's hands are tied, the UK has no veto over EU budget increases, the MEPs are likely to vote for it. But they may back down if there is a direct EU tax, though it won't be called that:
One thing is clear however, says Mr Lamassoure. "It must not be called a 'European tax'. Once you mix the words 'Europe' and 'tax' in the same sentence it becomes explosive."