Letter from Marta Andreasen MEP, who recently defected from UKIP, in today's Daily Mail:
UKIP is claiming that it voted against the entire EU budget and is protecting UK taxpayers. This is untrue.
In Strasbourg last week, UKIP MEPs could have voted to support David Cameron's budget. Instead, by voting against the Conservatives, they chose the default option which entails a 2 per cent a year increase for EU coffers.
When I was a UKIP member, I prepared the voting list for the budget for four years. The UKIP position is to oppose everything that comes from the EU. This means they can't vote for anything even when it would benefit their constituents.
In the case of Cameron's EU budget proposals, it would have meant substantial savings to UK taxpayers and the first budget cut since 1994.
UKIP MEPs come to Strasbourg or Brussels and complain a bit - and that's it. That's the sum total of their contribution to the EU debate. They believe they are fulfillingtheir mandate to lead the UK out of the EU by foot-stamping and flag-waving.
The opposite is the case: as the polls show the British public want a referendum on a renegotiation and only David Cameron is offering this.
To change a system, to shape the debate, you have to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. Cutting the EU budget is a case in point.
Marta Andreasen, Conservative MEP (formerley UKIP)
former European Commission Chief Accountant, Brussels