Government must pay £1.7 Billion sum to EU, say LabourList readers

Last Friday, news broke that the EU had recalculated the UK’s contributions to the supra-national organisation – and many people did not react well to discovering we owe another £1.7 billion. It was an “unnacceptable cash grab”, according to Mark Ferguson and new Shadow Europe Minister Pat McFadden voiced his displeasure at how the EU had gone about presenting the bill.

Katharina Klebba, meanwhile, said that although this resembled a “bull-in-a-china shop mentality”, it was up to Labour to do a better job of selling the EU to the people of Britain, rather than joining in the chorus of indignation.

We asked LabourList readers what they felt about the row. Was this new demand fair? And, following David Cameron’s indignance, should we even pay it? The results were something of a surprise:EU bill

By far the most popular view was that the bill was indeed fair, and we should pay it. 42% chose this option, suggesting that many members are strongly pro-EU, and are willing to back the institution in the face of media narratives. A further 23% thought the bill was unfair, but it was still our duty to pay up (a commonly held view on many tax issues). This means that 65% of readers think we should pay the money – a clear majority.

On the other hand, one in four (25%) felt that the news was so unfair that the UK should not stump up. This means that 48% feel the contribution is unjust – but that 42% who disagree is by far the bigger surprise.

We also surveyed people’s opinions on the Scottish Labour Party following Johann Lamont’s resignation as leader last week. How much independence and power Scottish Labour has is likely to be one of the key debates over which the leadership contest is fought – and LabourList readers have said decisively that they believe in greater autonomy for the Scottish party. 64% of LabourList readers believe that the next leader of Scottish Labour should have greater autonomy than that offered to Johann Lamont. Scottish Labour devolution

And what about the (relatively short) leadership contest (finishing on December 13th)? Well 63% of you think it’s about the right length, with 20% saying it’s too long, and 12% saying it’s too short.

668 readers voters in this week’s survey – thanks to everyone who took part.

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