While I may be accused of rather enjoying Barroso’s concealed gifts to UKIP, just look at it like the price of a trade-off that will hopefully result in putting the right people in Parliament to fight to protect your freedoms - Ukip Leader Nigel Farage MEP (Express)
•It's not often I have a lot to thank the EU Commission President for, but Jose Manuel Barroso has been on a bit of a roll this week.
First of all he gave that amazingly insightful talk at Chatham House in which he rather took the sparkle out of the magic wand Cameron was planning on waving over EU migration by keenly reminding us that any change to free movement of people was impermissible.
And then his outgoing gift to UKIP was dropping a £1.7billion bombshell on the Prime Minister.
For the man that argued just four days ago that a British exit from the EU would be ‘an historic mistake’ he seems to be going a funny way about trying to encourage the British people that they should want to stay.
I bet Cameron was somehow hoping the nasty little surprise the outgoing Commission had up their sleeves remained concealed, after we learned that number ten had actually known about this for quite a few days.
It is being suggested that a rather provocative and very deliberate leak from someone in Brussels’ corridors of power has been responsible for delivering the Conservative party this little pre-Rochester gift.
Cameron did however come out swinging in his press conference. I almost spat out my tea at his Tory Tough Talk.
Let’s see how much his line changes once the by election is over on 20th November.
If I could make a prediction I would say that he will either proclaim a massive victory in somehow lowering the amount, when he has already told us the £1.7bn is an estimate, not a final figure, or he will tell us all how wicked and wrong the EU is but how he is the only man to change things when he finally does have to sign a check to the EU from the UK treasury.
Brussels can pin the blame on the outgoing European Commission and proclaim that the new Juncker team will bring the spirit of harmony and cooperation Europe so desperately needs.
Just like his fictional victory on reducing the EU budget – a decision which, incidentally, saw UK contributions actually go up – we will no doubt find that whatever happens, the spinners in Conservative Headquarters will find some way of painting whatever happens as a brilliant boon for Cameron.
Of course it was the vote on Cameron’s celebrated renewed EU budget that dragged through this measure, permitting annual adjustments, in its wake. Good job Dave. You’ve gone and cost the UK economy a couple of billion quid, the equivalent to a couple of new high tech hospitals.
It made me laugh when he talked about how unfair it was that we should be punished for our economic growth, fuelled, he said, by Britain getting on with ‘making things again’ while straight after giving himself a big pat on the back for committing to a 40% cut in carbon.