UK Politics

David Cameron: Attempt to cut UK's EU rebate 'unacceptable'

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Media captionDavid Cameron: "It was frustrating and frankly unacceptable that we had to go through it all over again"

David Cameron says he has to be on guard constantly at EU summits because "there are 27 other countries who want to get rid of the UK's rebate".

The UK prime minister said last week's "ambush" at the summit forced him to defend the British deal again.

This was "unnecessary, frustrating and unacceptable" as the issue had been discussed and settled in budget talks.

Mr Cameron, who is also updating MPs on the situation in Afghanistan, said he would not give up any of the rebate.

The bid to reduce the UK's rebate, the annual £3bn refund on part of its contribution to the EU budget, came at last Thursday night's gathering of EU leaders.

BBC Europe editor Gavin Hewitt said that French officials had suggested changes to rural development funds for newer EU member states could change the calculations for the UK rebate - perhaps reducing it by as much as £300m a year.

But Mr Cameron said the issue had been settled in February and he had received assurances from European Council President Herman Van Rompuy that the position had not changed.

Labour leader Ed Miliband poked fun at the prime minister's words during a media conference on Friday when he had said "in this town you have to be ready for an ambush at any time, and that means lock and load and have one up the spout".

Mr Miliband said he had made it sound "more Carry on Up the Council than High Noon".

Mr Cameron responded by saying Labour would have entered the negotiations with "their arms up and waving a white flag".

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