...as UK loses budget battle

DAVID Cameron is preparing himself for an embarrassing defeat in his

attempt to freeze the EU budget ahead of today’s council of European leaders.

At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Cameron promised to fight for a freeze or even a cut in the EU’s 2011 budget. However, after a series of telephone conversations with other European leaders late last night, he conceded the EU budget would likely rise by at least 2.9 per cent, increasing Britain’s contribution by £430m.

Last night, aides said the increase was far less than the six per cent being called for by the European Parliament, but admitted the Prime Minister was hoping for a bigger concession.
The move is likely to cause dissent among Tory backbenchers, who willpoint out that Cameron has said such a hike is “outrageous”considering the UK’s austerity measures.