High Peak's MP Andrew Bingham used the Prime Minister's statement on the European Council in the House of Commons yesterday to express a view that will doubtless be shared by many in the High Peak. Here is Mr Bingham's question:
"I was out selling poppies in Glossop on Saturday and constituent after constituent came to me to express their outrage at this unacceptable demand for €2 billion.
"In fact, one constituent even likened the EU to Dick Turpin, the difference being that Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask.
"Does the Prime Minister agree that the view expressed to me by my High Peak constituents represents the view across the country that this bill is unacceptable?"
Scientists are currently carbon-dating the joke that Mr Bingham managed to work into his question.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's reply to our MP:
"I entirely understand the reaction of my hon. Friend’s constituents. It is exactly the reaction I found in my constituency at the weekend: people outraged that so much money could be asked for with so little time to pay it and with so little thought for the taxpayers who would be called on to do so."
And then a couple of questions later the Prime Minister added:
"The Commission will see how strongly people feel. One of the great puzzles is that on Thursday night, when this emerged, the President of the current Commission, José Manuel Barroso, knew nothing about the payments, which raises interesting questions in itself. Clearly, the Commission needs to understand that this is taxpayers’ money and that it is not acceptable to behave in this way."