Cameron suffers defeat over Europe

British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a stinging parliamentary defeat over Europe after the Conservative rebels joined the Labour opposition to demand a cut in the European Union budget.

The defeat last night came after more than 50 rebels from ruling party joined Labour MPs in supporting a demand for real-terms reductions in spending by the European Union. The Government was defeated by 307 votes to 294, a majority of 13.

Commons sources estimated that 51 Tories voted against the Government, with two more acting as tellers.

The vote was Cameron’s second major Commons defeat over Europe and led to warnings that division in the Conservative Party over Europe could hamstring him as it did to Sir John Major during the 1990s.

The vote is not binding, but will put Cameron under intense pressure to take a harder line in talks on the EU budget at a summit in Brussels later this month.

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