Around 40 Tory MPs have already signed an amendment to today’s motion, calling for the Prime Minister to demand a real-term reduction in EU spending.
If around 50 Conservatives decide to vote against the government and are joined by all opposition MPs then the government would be defeated.
Last night a major whipping operation was underway to avoid this embarrassment, with wavering backbenchers invited to Downing Street to discuss the issue with the Prime Minister.
Cameron has repeatedly insisted he will oppose a planned five per cent rise in the organisation’s spending at next month’s meeting of the 27 EU leaders. Instead he will press for the 2014-2020 budget to rise in line with inflation – currently around two per cent.
• A large majority of Greek socialist politicians have agreed to vote in favour of contested austerity reforms, sources said last night. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is confident the measures can now be passed, even though the Democratic Left party opposes many of the cuts. Greece’s next tranche of bailout payments depend on an agreement.