Britain threatened on Thursday to veto any deal on the European Union budget that is not good for the British taxpayer, a day after a humiliating defeat in parliament undermined Prime Minister David Cameron's authority. The vote — Cameron's first significant defeat in parliament since taking power in 2010 — could strengthen his position at budget talks in Brussels this month as he will be able to say his hands are tied by the British parliament.
"We want a cut in the EU budget," finance minister George Osborne told BBC Radio 4. "We are at the beginning of a negotiation. Let us see where that negotiation leads." The second most powerful man in the British government repeatedly refused to be drawn on whether he thought securing such a cut was possible or not. "We will not accept a deal unless it is good for the British taxpayer. We will veto any deal that is not good for the British taxpayer," Osborne said.
"No one should doubt David Cameron's determination, my determination to deliver a deal that is good for the taxpayer and that puts an end to outrageous increases in European spending," Osborne said. Talking past a question on if the Conservative Party was out of control over Europe, Osborne said Wednesday's defeat in parliament meant the government had to listen to lawmakers.
"We will only put a deal to the House of Commons that we think the House of Commons will accept," Osborne said.
"If it comes to a vote... the House of Commons will face a choice: you either accept the deal or you accept no deal. Now no deal doesn't mean there is no spending in Europe; it means you go to these annual budgets in the European Union."
Osborne, 41, said there had been a shift in the public mood against the European Union in Britain. "Britain has become more Eurosceptic over my lifetime. I think people are outraged when they see money being wasted in Europe."