Dominic Raab defends UK’s foreign aid spending cuts
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Last year, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK would slash aid spending from 0.7 percent of national income to 0.5 percent – a reduction of more than £4billion. The Government said the ongoing Covid pandemic meant tough but necessary decisions were needed to protect under pressure public finances. But over a dozen Conservative Party backbenchers – including Boris Johnson’s predecessor as Prime Minister, Theresa May – are firmly against the plan and are hoping to force new legislation to see Foreign Aid spending increase by as soon as next year.
The group, led by former Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchel, have tabled an amendment that would force ministers to reinstate a legally-binding target of spending 0.7 percent of national income from January 2022.
The bill will return to the House of Commons for further consideration on Monday, with Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle then deciding whether the amendment should proceed to the next step. A total of 45 Tory MPs are needed for the amendment to pass.
But in our latest poll, Mr Johnson has been overwhelmingly been urged by Express.co.uk readers to fight back against the plans from the Tory rebels.
The poll, which ran from 1.30pm on Thursday June 3 until 8.30am on Friday June 4, asked: “Should Boris reverse plans to cut Foreign Aid and make UK pay 0.7%?”
A huge 95 percent (10,625 readers) backed the Prime Minister to stick to his plan and ignore the growing rebellion from his own backbenchers.
The remaining five percent (559 readers) disagreed, while less than one percent (49 readers) were undecided.
Furious Express.co.uk readers urged Mr Johnson to completely scrap Foreign Aid contributions from the UK and spend it on Britain instead.
Reacting to our initial story, one person wrote: “Firstly, Mrs May is an Ex Prime Minister for a reason. Go away.
“Secondly, these Tory MP’s should listen to their voters, and not what THEY want.
“We need Foreign Aid scrapped completely. We need the money, OUR money, spent here at home on US.”
A second reader said: “Cut it to zero and replace it with a disaster relief fund to help where and when disasters like earthquakes, famines happen.
“There are people in the UK who need help first.”
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Several others attacked Tory backbenchers for rebelling against the plans to cut Foreign Aid contributions.
One person commented: “Rebel Tories are way out of step with public opinion on this!”
Another added: “Cut it to zero and publish the names of any MP that votes against it.”
Speaking on the growing rebellion against the plan to cut Foreign Aid, Tory Chief Whip said: “Every single member of the House of Commons was elected on a very clear manifesto promise to stand by this commitment.
“I have repeatedly urged the Government to obey the law and implored ministers to reconsider breaking this commitment.
“The cuts are now having a devastating impact on the ground and are leading to unnecessary loss of life.”
He added: “We urge the Government to think again, or we shall be asking Parliament to reaffirm the law as it stands so as to oblige the Government to meet its legal commitment, keep its very clear pledge to British voters and uphold Britain’s promise to the rest of the world.”
Other rebel MPs include Mrs May’s former deputy Damian Green and Johnny Mercer, who recently resigned as defence minister over spending cuts.
Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and ex-aid minister Sir Desmond Swayne are also supporting the amendment.
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