Boris Johnson facing major Commons rebellion against government plans to cut foreign aid
Boris Johnson faces a big Communal room rebellion over plans to slash foreign aid, with opponents saying the cut will result in tens of thousands of deaths in other parts of the world.
The government blamed the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic for its decision to cut aid.
He expects just under £ 10 billion to be allocated to aid spending in 2021/22 as the PM plans to temporarily cut foreign aid by 0.7% of national income to 0.5% – despite pledging in its 2019 manifesto to keep spending high. rate.
MPs, including 14 Tory backbenchers, criticized the decision with former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell leading a campaign to ensure the new legislation fills the shortfall left by the chopped off.
Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, former Minister Caroline Nokes and former Aid Minister Sir Desmond Swayne supported the amendment. The number of opponents could increase.
Ms Nokes told ITV’s Peston on Wednesday: “Women will die from these cuts to family planning, so I joined forces with colleagues to make sure we can vote on it and I will vote to keep this 0.7%.
She also said: “I am chair of the Select Committee on Women and Equality, the 85% cuts in family planning, the cuts in girls’ education – what we know is that if girls are not educated, they will not be empowered. , they will not be eligible if they are pregnant too early. “
Mr Mitchell proposes an amendment to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (Aria) Bill, legislation that establishes a new ‘high risk, high reward’ research agency backed by £ 800million taxpayer money to explore new ideas.
The explanatory note to Mr. Mitchell’s amendment reads: “This new clause aims to reaffirm the obligation in the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA ) to amount to 0.7% of gross national income each year. .
“This would force Aria to make up any shortfall in this proportion from January 2022.”
President Sir Lindsay Hoyle will decide whether the amendment will be considered when the bill returns to the Commons for further consideration on June 7.
The government has also been criticized for failing to hold a vote in the House of Commons on the decision to cut aid.
When asked if the amendment would be binding on the government, Ms Nokes said: ‘I think it’s not clear at the moment and what we’ve seen the government do so far is is what I would describe as stealth cuts.
“Parliament therefore did not have the opportunity to vote on its point of view.
“I really hope it will be binding. I do not want the government to try to find a way out of a commitment that we all made just a few years ago.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy wrote on Twitter: ‘On Monday, just days before world leaders arrived in Cornwall to discuss the global response to the pandemic, the government faces defeat in the face of his short-sighted and self-defeating decision to cut aid.
“The Conservatives should do the right thing and reverse this cut. “