EU demands £1.7bn: is this Cameron’s big moment?

Unhappy David Cameron

The EU has demanded an additional £1.7bn from the UK by the end of the year. The way the Prime Minister handles it could be seen as a make-or-break moment.

Speaking at a meeting of leaders in Brussels, the Prime Minister has hit out at the new demands from the EU.

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, France, Germany and Denmark - among others - will be getting a rebate, whilst the Netherlands and crippling Greece are to pay more than expected.

With just weeks to go until the by-election in Rochester and Strood, this could be a key moment for David Cameron.

If the Conservative leader comes out of this well it will show that he can deal with Europe and could show to those voters tempted to vote UKIP that the Conservatives are sticking up for Britain in the EU.

David Cameron is clearly against this hefty £2bn demand. Speaking earlier on the BBC he said: “If people think I’m paying that on the 1st of December - no, that is not happening.”

However, if the Conservative leader fails to come out of this well, for example by going back on his promise to to pay the £1.7bn by December, then the future will be tough for the Conservative party.

Nigel Farage and UKIP's ‘people’s army’ will pounce on the opportunity to show how weak Cameron is on Europe. Friday’s YouGov poll gives the anti-EU party 15%, a result slightly below the 17% consistency for the last couple of weeks. However, polls over the next few days could see a rise in UKIP fortunes - or Conservative ones, if David Cameron can convince citizens that he is the man that can deal with the EU.

And even if David Cameron does keep to his word to not pay the money by December, then UKIP will continue to point out the excessive demands of the EU. It might even convince some more voters to vote UKIP.

Additionally, even the Labour party has condemned the bill. Writing on Facebook, Ed Miliband has said: ‘in short, we think this is totally unacceptable’. Furthermore, Ed Balls has reportedly criticised the Treasury for not acting quicker.

It is clear that the next few weeks will involve tricky maneuvering for all political players. Rochester and Strood is thought to be tighter than the Clacton by-election, however, a recent poll put UKIP's Mark Reckless in the lead. The impact on the vote could be shaped by how David Cameron deals with this £1.7bn.

For the Prime Minister, this could be a make-or-break moment on the EU.